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Voice

Posted on Monday, January 15th, 2007

Dave!After a long day at work on a public holiday, I was looking forward to finally seeing Children of Men and going out to a nice dinner.

Unfortunately my favorite restaurant in Wenatchee (McGlinns) has, for some stupid-ass reason, decided to stop offering veggie burger substitutions on their burger menu. WTF?!? THEY'RE FROZEN!! How hard is it to keep a box of frozen veggie burgers in your freezer for those times you have vegetarian guests? Is that really too much to ask? Sheesh. It's inexplicable shit like this that causes me to abandon local haunts in favor of sanitized chains like Applebees. Hey, they may be a chain, but at least they don't f#@%-over their vegetarian clientele.

Children of Men

As for the movie... it was pretty freakin' amazing. I was blown away at some of the more shocking turns (of which there are several). It is now readily apparent why Children of Men is garnering such critical praise... it's relentless. And beautifully acted. And wonderfully shot. And skillfully directed. It's not a feel-good film by any means, but it is a film that will make you think. And feel. Just watching Children of Men is thoroughly exhausting, but in a good way. If you can handle the violence and a few meandering scenes, it's worth checking out.

Anyway, if you will now excuse me, I'm choosing to retire on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day by listening to a few of his speeches. So many of his words are as profoundly stirring today as they were when he spoke them, and I don't know whether I should be happy or sad about that. Happy, because it just goes to show that great words withstand the test of time. Sad, because if I were asked to name a "Martin Luther King Jr." for our day, I could not. Why is it that America's greatest voices all seem to come from the past?

Bleh. I'd feel a little less depressed about that if there was a new Veronica Mars on tomorrow night, but she doesn't return until the 23rd.

Categories: Food 2007, Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Panned

Posted on Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Dave!Wow. I just got back from watching Guillermo del Toro's motion picture masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth. I already knew he was genius from his works on Hellboy and The Devil's Backbone... but this film exceeded even my loftiest expectations. It somehow manages to seamlessly blend a brutal reality with fantasy in a way that doesn't totally suck. If you can stomach the violence (and don't mind subtitles), it's definitely worth a look.

Taking place in Spain during World War II, Pan's Labyrinth is a little girl's attempt to escape the horrors of war to a fantasy realm that has perils of its own. Along the way she meets some interesting friends and even more interesting adversaries...

Pan's Labyrinth

About the only negative was having to see the film in a theater filled with idiots which included...

  • A group of emo goth dumbasses who talked the entire time. Assumably because they were too f#@%ing stupid to read subtitles and too lame to just leave the theater and sit at McDonalds for ten hours.
  • Three rude whores resembling Jabba the Hutt who not only couldn't shut the f#@% up, but snuck in large bags of Doritos that they then crinkled constantly while stuffing their faces with chips.
  • One moron who wasn't able to drink without choking, and spent most of the film hacking up phlegm.
  • Two stupid bitches who had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes... together. From their non-stop giggling, I can only guess they were snorting cocaine, blazing up on meth, or otherwise killing their few remaining brain cells.

Whatever happened to the good old days when you went to the movies, sat down, shut the f#@% up, and watched the film?

Speaking of "the good old days" — I find it amazing how the "remastered" special effects they're sneaking into the original Star Trek series has reinvigorated the show. I just finished watching a remastered The Doomsday Machine, and it was pretty sweet! The originals could always hold their own against any of the crappy Trek spin-offs that followed, but now they're at a whole new level of greatness. And, unlike George Lucas shitting all over the Star Wars trilogy, the people working on Star Trek are actually respecting the source material. The stories and spirit remain unchanged... the show just looks fresher.

If only we could do the same for Jennifer Love Hewitt's freaky bangs on the first season of The Ghost Whisperer.

Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  22 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 18

Posted on Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Dave!Lost is Lost... This morning I awoke to find a couple of emails from people pointing me to a story in The Washington Post about how Lost has plummeted in the television ratings and may be facing cancelation. I could try to act surprised, but what's the point? The show sucks ass. It was a brilliant concept that started out as a lot of fun, then disintegrated into boredom when the writers were either too stupid or too lazy to try and come up with cool new mysteries, choosing instead to drag out the same old shit... FOREVER. I mean, holy crap... I was pointing out this problem ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO, and I'm not even in television! Are the people running the show on crack? It's like a lesson in what NOT to do, where everybody sees the wreck coming except the people driving the bus. Next up... Heroes! Or will they learn from Lost's mistakes in time?

• Best Breakfast Ever... Snack-Pack Chocolate Pudding, five Golden Oreo cookies, and a glass of chocolate milk.

Ghost Rider

• Spirit of Vengeance... One of the cooler comic book creations, Ghost Rider, has finally been given the movie treatment starring long-time comic fan Nicholas Cage. And here's the thing... despite the shitty reviews, I enjoyed this film. Cage totally had a handle on the character, injecting humor where appropriate and not taking the role too seriously. The special effects were kick-ass. The story was entertaining. But, most importantly, there was enough action to keep things moving and the film was fairly faithful to the comics. What's not to love? It amazes me that reviewers are going to a movie about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle thinking it will be about something else, then are disappointed to find out it actually IS about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle. Well, duh. It's not supposed to be Shakespeare, it's just a cheesy popcorn flick. Taking it for what it is, I found it brilliant, and will be buying it on DVD.

• Not-So-Daily Show... Whilst clearing old shows off my TiVo, I ran across the October 26th, 2006 episode of The Daily Show which I've saved because it is one of my all-time favorites. Remembering that The Daily Show can be purchased at the iTunes Music Store, I thought I would just buy the episode so I could free up some space on my TiVo box. Well, it was a good plan, except that you can only purchase the last 8 episodes and nothing before that. WHY? I would think that one of the benefits of selling shows online is that you have a library of archived shows to offer for sale. Both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have segments and guests that demand future exploration... why not offer them? Once again I am put in a position where my only option is to acquire the show "unofficially" — not by choice, but by stupid circumstance.

• Un-Trekable... Speaking of the iTunes Music Store... I was thrilled that the new "re-mastered" episodes of the original (i.e. "real") Star Trek were being offered for sale. Now, for reasons unknown, Paramount has withdrawn them. Which means last week's brilliant update of The Doomsday Machine and this week's beautiful tweaks to the classic Amok Time are nowhere to be found. WTF?!? So here I am, again, perfectly willing to pay money to get something I want, yet my only option is to hope somebody has uploaded it to BitTorrent. Oh well, T'Pring is a total bitch hottie at $1.99 or $0.00, so it's all the same to me. The only loser here is Paramount. Dumbasses. They will, of course, blame internet piracy for lost profits when it's their own stupid asses who are refusing to take my money.

• Six Meme... After avoiding the "Six Weird Things About You Meme" like the plague, Kyle descended like the Black Death and infected me with it. So here goes... 1) I don't like coffee or coffee-flavored products, which I don't think is weird, but others sure do. 2) I am perfectly happy watching the same movies over and over again... I've seen such films as EuroTrip, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Fifth Element, and Bedazzled dozens of times. 3) I have written exactly one fan letter in my entire life... it was to 80's Atari Computer game programmer Tom Hudson, and I still have his kind reply stuffed in a box somewhere. 4) My love of all things Betty White is not a joke... I really do think she kicks ass, and am a huge fan. 5) I am a total comic book geek, and own over 12,000 of them. 6) Weirdest of all? I write in my blog every day and this is the one-thousand-six-hundred-and-thirty-fifth time I've done so. FINI) I'm breaking the rules by not tagging six people now, but I don't tag.

Three weeks until TequilaCon...

   

Bullet Sunday 19

Posted on Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday on Oscar night!

And while I am not a big fan of the Oscars (they never seem to award the proper films), I am a huge fan of movies, so here we go with the big four...

• Best Picture... Who should win: Little Miss Sunshine. Who will probably win: The Departed. Martin Scorsese, who has done some amazing work, will probably be given the statue for The Departed as a gimmee for being passed-over all these years... even though I don't think it is the best picture this year. I honestly feel that every other film nominated is more deserving to win, with Little Miss Sunshine topping my list.

• Best Director... Who should win: Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima. Who will probably win: Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima. This astounding film had some incredible artistic choices in direction that nobody can deny... Clint totally deserves to win for his hauntingly beautiful picture, and undoubtedly will. No other direction on a film comes close.

• Best Actor... Who should win: Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson. Who will probably win: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland. I am sure that Forest Whitaker turned in a wonderful performance as Idi Amin (I haven't seen the movie yet), but I find it impossible to believe that anybody topped Ryan Gosling's mind-blowing performance in Half Nelson. I had mixed feelings on the film, but there's no denying Gosling's brilliance in it. As an aside here, if I could pick ANYBODY to win this award, and not just a nominee, it would be Ken Watanabe for his work in Letters From Iwo Jima. This actor puts more into every amazing performance than any other actor I know, and this role was no difference. It's pretty criminal that he wasn't nominated.

• Best Actress... Who should win: Helen Mirren, The Queen. Who will probably win: Helen Mirren, The Queen. Probably the best performance in a movie this year. She WAS The Queen in this film, and humanized a very real person in a way that few actors could have managed. I would be shocked if she doesn't win.

Dave & Oscar

And now, I have about six hours of work to do yet tonight, so I'll be signing off. If you hear screaming, it's because Pan's Labyrinth didn't win Best Foreign Language Film...

   

Bullet Sunday 22

Posted on Sunday, March 18th, 2007

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday with the lights out! Problems with the electrical power have wrecked havoc with my work plans today, so here I am blogging on my laptop where it's safe.

As a side-note, I should mention that I am aware that Blogography has been having problems recently. My web hosting company, Media Temple, has been having serious issues with their new "Grid Server," and being able to access my site or comment on entries has been hit-or-miss as of late. Media Temple is supposedly working on the problem, but these issues have been going on for months now, so I'm not sure how much faith I can put in that. All I can say is "sorry" and please come back later if you're having problems.

Reeses Racing

• Disappointment! There's a dilemma I like to call "The Reese's Gambit." It hinges on the mysterious Russian-Roulette game you play every time you buy a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup candy bar. Will the peanut butter in the center be deliciously moist and tasty... or will it be all dried-up, powdery, and disgusting? There's no way of knowing, so you just have to buy one and find out what you get. When the center is good, there's very few candy bars I like better than a Reese's. When it's BAD, however, it usually pisses me off so much that I will go months without eating one again. Today, after a suitable three-month mourning period following a crappy Reese's experience, I tried again and got a good one. Yay me. Thinking I'd hit the jackpot, I went running back to the mini-mart to buy more... and was horrified to find that all of them had gross dried-out centers. So now I'm thinking it will be a while before I'm willing to play the Reese's Gambit again. I guess I'll just have to live off the memory of that yummy first Reese's for a while, and that sucks ass.

Remo Williams

• Destroyer! I watched Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins on DVD for the hundredth time last night, and wondered for the thousandth time why somebody hasn't made any more movies based on the series of excellent Destroyer books. Sure the original film (starring Fred Ward and Joel Grey) wasn't much of a financial success, and Destroyer fans disliked it because the story didn't follow the books closely enough... but I loved the movie. I still love it. And now that Tor Books is reviving the book line again with a series of "New Destroyer" novels in May, isn't it about time somebody step up and revive the movie franchise as well? The series really has it all... action, drama, intrigue, humor, and some of the most brilliant characters ever written. With the right director and cast, a Destroyer film would kick ass.

Cathy Dennis Move to This

• Deception! Back in 1994 there was a radio hit called Touch Me (All Night Long) by Cathy Dennis. The vocals were quite good, Cathy was suitably hot, and it had a sweet Europop electro-beat I liked. After a couple of listens I decided to run down to Hastings so I could buy the CD, which was titled Move to This (I was going on a road trip, and wanted something new to listen to). Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Touch Me song they were playing on the radio was not the same song on the CD. Instead of that kicky Europop beat driving the song, the CD track was all boring and shitty. I have a running joke with my friends about kicking the crap out of Cathy Dennis if I ever see her for betraying me this way. It may have been a dozen years past, but I just can't let it go. And then this morning I check my email to find that my friend Meagan had gifted the crappy song to me on iTunes... presumably as a joke. Well ha ha, the joke's on her because, as I was claiming the song, I noticed that iTunes had the REAL version of the song for sale off of a compilation called 100% Pure Dance. It's a mix that runs a little long, but it has the proper beat and I've been rocking out to it all morning. I think that I am finally... finally able to release my rabid hatred of Cathy Dennis now.

Hard Rock Dallas
Photo swiped from Virgil LaFerney's EXCELLENT Hard Rock Dallas Page.

• Dallas! I've been meaning to write about the sad closing of the Hard Rock Cafe Dallas since it happened two weeks ago, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. The pet project of Hard Rock co-founder Isaac Tigrett, the Dallas cafe was a special property indeed. Originally a Baptist Church, 13 million dollars was spent renovating the building and creating the cafe, which finally opened on November, 1986 (the fourth Hard Rock in the US and ninth world-wide). There were many features that made this cafe unique in the chain, and the property quickly became one of my favorites when I first visited in July, 2001. Hearing about the closing was painful, and I feel terrible that I didn't manage to get back once I heard they were shutting their doors for good. It's things like this that really have me questioning why I care about the Hard Rock anymore. If the owners can't appreciate the chain's history, why should I? Oh well, at least I got to visit this one before they dumped it... nothing is more frustrating than having a cafe close before I have a chance to visit.

Robert Downey Jr. Zodiac

• Downey! How is it that Robert Downey Jr. can steal every movie he's in... even if it is a relatively minor role? Sure Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo were excellent as the driving force behind David Fincher's latest film, Zodiac, but it's Downey who makes the film truly interesting to me. Playing seriously flawed reporter Paul Avery, he just blows everybody else off the screen. Suddenly a film that seems more like a crime reenactment than a cohesive story comes alive because Robert Downey Jr. just sucks you into his character. My only real criticism of this beautifully-shot movie is that it didn't have enough Downey in it. Well, that and the really bad toupee that Anthony Edwards was forced to wear throughout the film. Holy crap did it ever look like a ferret died on his head. Why why why couldn't they have just left his character bald so as not to distract the audience and embarrass the actor?

Oooh... the power is back on again! Guess I'll save my remaining bullets for next Sunday, because it's back to work for me...

   

Punk’d

Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2007

Dave!As I was walking to my car this morning, I very nearly stepped in a pile of dog shit. The close call was made even more strange when I got to my car and saw that a dog was across the parking lot staring at me. I can only guess that he was the perpetrator, and was undoubtedly disappointed that I hadn't stepped into his trap. If he had a video camera, I'd say it's like an episode of "Doggy Punk'd" or something. More likely that he was just bored, and this is what he does for laughs.

Except now he knows what car I drive, so I can only imagine where he will choose to take a crap next. If I find a steaming pile on the hood of my car tomorrow, I'm going to hunt down that dog and shove it back up his ass. Who will be laughing then?

Dave Doggy Punk'd

And speaking of putting shit back in the dog...

I just saw the single worst movie ever: National Lampoon's Gold Diggers, and am trying to figure out why in the hell National Lampoon would put their name on such a bad, BAD film. The terrible story and acting would have been forgivable... except IT WASN'T FUNNY!! And isn't that what National Lampoon is all about? Rotten Tomatoes has listed an aggregated review score of 0%, AND lists it as #7 on the "100 Worst-Reviewed Films of All Time," so why in the heck would they ever release it on DVD? Far better to lock this piece of shit in a vault and drop it to the bottom of the ocean than to tarnish the National Lampoon name! They may not be as respected now as in their Animal House days, but there's no reason to flush their reputation down the toilet entirely...

Golddiggerssucks

You know a film is bad when it features ultra-hot Nikki Ziering topless, and I still can't find anything good to say about it.

   

Glorious

Posted on Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Dave!I have yet to figure out why I am chronically unlucky when it comes to driving karma.

You can bet your ass that if there is a dumbass on the road, he'll be in my immediate vicinity. If there is a traffic accident, it will happen right in front of me. If there is road construction closing down a lane, I'll be the one they make stop and wait. If a 90-year-old woman is out for a Sunday drive, I'll be the one stuck behind her. When it comes to being delayed, interrupted, stopped, or cut-off, I'm the guy who is going to be selected by the driving gods to get shafted.

And it's always when I'm in a hurry.

Today I had to run home really quick before I left for the movies. Naturally, a train decided to pass right as I got to the crossing...

Stopped for a Train

Once I finally got past the crossing, a fruit truck going 15 miles under the speed limit pulls out in front of me...

Stopped for a Fruit Truck

After I got home, dropped my stuff, and finally made it out to the highway, a State Patrol car decided to pull out as well, which meant speeding to the theater to make up for lost time wasn't an option (forgive me for not including a photo, but something tells me that the State Patrol frowns upon taking photos from a moving car going 60mph on the highway... especially when it's the driver doing the photography).

Typical.

But somehow I made it to the movie on time, which is where I got to watch the greatest film released in recent memory, BLADES OF GLORY!

Blades of Glory

Forget 300, Last King of Scotland, The Queen, Zodiac, Blood Diamond, and even Ghost Rider, THIS is the movie which will stand the test of time! I'd put it right up there with The Godfather and The Terminator in terms of greatness!

Okay, maybe not. But it was a lot of fun, and much better than I expected...

Monkey of Glory

I just can't figure out why nobody has thought of building a comedy around double-men pairs skating before. It's a brilliant concept. Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, and Craig T. Nelson were all perfectly cast in their roles... but I'd have to say that it's Jenna Fischer who will end up with an Oscar nomination out of this film. She has a lingerie scene which will have people completely forgetting her mousy "Pam" character from The Office. Who knew?

Bring on Spider-Man 3.

   

Bullet Sunday 25

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2007

Dave!Make a joyful noise for Bullet Sunday has risen!

• Easter... I gave up celebrating Easter around the same time I gave up being Catholic (almost 20 years ago now!) but still love the holiday for one very good reason: the candy. I absolutely love Easter candy. From having my teeth shiver as I bite into the sweetness that is a Cadbury Chocolate Cream Egg... to getting some of my favorite candies in egg shapes and pastel colors... Easter is a candy-lover's dream come true. In many ways, I'm thinking it even eclipses Halloween in terms of confectionary importance to me now...

Dave Easter Chocolate
Nothing wrong with getting a little tail on Easter.

Which is probably why I'm choosing to celebrate the holiday by lapsing into a chocolate coma.

• Voicemail... ABC Television has an amazing new video player on their site which, get this, IS MACINTOSH COMPATIBLE!! As if that weren't cool enough, you can watch full episodes of sweet ABC shows like Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy. But here's the best thing... they have an original online series called Voicemail that's priceless...

Voicemail
Mike is a character that just about any guy can relate to at some point in their lives.

For best effect, you'll want to go to ABC.com and choose their New Video Player. But you can also access the webisodes in the old Flash player format from the Voicemail web site (which is also funny). This is one of those rare online series that is actually worth your valuable time. I hope they sell the episodes at iTunes after the first "season" is over, because I would gladly pay money to have this show saved on iTunes for a rainy day when I need a laugh.

Of course, this being ABC, they will undoubtedly cancel it half-way through the current season and we'll never see it again. It's what they do.

• Three... There is no bullet point three. Move along.

• Flash!... Ever since seeing Blades of Glory, I've had Queen's brilliant Flash Gordon Theme playing in my head. Depiste the poor reviews, I always liked the 1980 Flash Gordon film... largely due to the funky visuals, excellent film score by Queen, and the sweet hotness of Melody Anderson. I bought the soundtrack album long ago on vinyl (long since lost) but lucky for me it's available at the iTunes Music store. Sweet! I also note that one of my favorite videos, Radio Ga Ga, is also available. The song has never been one of my favorites, but the epic dream-like quality of the video is a winner...

Queen Radio Ga Ga
Freddie looking fierce, fabulous, and very gay wearing leather pants, feathers, and a sash.

• Extracurricular... Why is it that every time I turn around, there's another teacher being busted for sleeping with their under-aged students? And, even more importantly, why wasn't this part of the educational curriculum when I was in school? Granted, there were very few of my teachers I would have wanted to sleep with, but I can think of one or two that I'd have gladly let tutor me in some after-school sessions. Just think of the embarrassment that could have been avoided in fumbling to remove that first bra had a teacher been kind enough to show me how it's done! That being said, you would think that the penalty for violating the trust of parents who put their kids in a teacher's care like this would be death. Of course, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that somebody finds underage girls and boys to be sexually attractive, so maybe I'm just biased.

And, on that note, I must now have jellybeans. JELLYBEANS I SAY!!

   

Movied

Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Dave!Yeesh. Another night of writing my entry just as midnight approaches. I guess that's what happens when you are slaving away morning noon and night to get caught up with work.

I suppose there are lots of things I could write about, but it's late, so I think I'll just grab that movie meme that's been floating around. Kevin has done is now, so I guess I pretty much have to...

  • Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times. Wow. Many, many of my favorite films have been seen at least 10 times. Here's a few from memory... Aliens, Back to the Future 1 & 2, Bedazzled, Beverly Hills Cop, The Birdcage, Buckaroo Banzai, Chasing Amy, Clerks, Coming to America, Commando, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Field of Dreams, The Fifth Element, Groundhog Day, The Matrix, Office Space, Real Genius, Remo Williams, Sneakers, South Park: Bigger-Longer-Uncut, Star Trek II & IV, Star Wars, Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, The Terminator, Terminator 2, This is Spinal Tap, True Lies, and Undercover Blues.
  • Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater. Recently that would be Clerks 2 and Casino Royale. My personal record would probably be The Matrix, which I believe I've seen in a theater 6 times.
  • Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie. Elizabeth Hurley.
  • Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie. David Caruso.
  • Name a movie that you can and do quote from. So many. I'm pretty good with Buckaroo Banzai quotes.
  • Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs. I don't do musicals. Though I liked the soundtrack from Xanadu back in the day, so maybe that one. Or Grease maybe?
  • Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with. Uh. None that I know of.
  • Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see. Undercover Blues, which is one of my favorite movies that people are always overlooking.
  • Name a movie that you own. I own many, many films.
  • Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops. Elizabeth Hurley is an obvious choice.
  • Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what? When I was a kid, this was a popular summer pass-time, so I'm sure there are many. I do remember seeing the original Star Wars for the third time at the drive-in.
  • Ever made out in a movie? Sure.
  • Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't yet gotten around to it. Talladega Nights.
  • Ever walked out of a movie? Born American, which made me embarrassed to be American. It's the worst movie I've ever seen in a theater (though I very nearly walked out on Spanglish, which was almost as bad).
  • Name a movie that made you cry in the theater. Dirty Dancing, but only because I was drunk and had gotten some really bad news earlier in the evening.
  • What's the last movie you saw in the theater? The most excellent Blades of Glory.
  • What's your favorite/preferred genre of movie? Action/Adventure is probably at the top.
  • What's the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? Herbie the Love Bug.
  • What movie do you wish you had never seen? Recently? The horrendously bad National Lampoon's Gold Diggers. Wretched, awful stuff.
  • What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed? Being John Malkovich is probably an easy pick for this one.
  • What is the scariest movie you've seen? Movies don't scare me much like they used to... back in the day, I was terrified from watching the original Alien.
  • What is the funniest movie you've seen? Gee, have no idea... Basketball, Stripes, or The Birdcage maybe? Eurotrip always makes me laugh.
  • Oog. Time for bed. But before I go, I was pleased to see that the plans for the first "Hard Rock Park" in Myrtle Beach have finally been released. It's looking pretty sweet, and bigger than I had thought it would be...

    Hard Rock Park

    Hard Rock Park

    The juicy details can be found at Myrtle Beach Online (which is where I snagged these photos). I guess that will be one more property to add to my list when it opens in 2008.

       

    Skywalker

    Posted on Saturday, May 26th, 2007

    Dave!I remember it as if it were yesterday.

    I did not see Star Wars in a theater when it was first released. I saw it at a drive-in later that summer. This was kind of a bummer because the picture... and especially the sound... at a drive-in is pretty crappy. But it was still Star Wars, and I remember being completely and totally absorbed from the moment that Star Destroyer crossed the screen. It was more than my 11-year-old mind could fathom, and my life (like so many others) had just been changed forever.

    Princess Dave Organa
    Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope...

    To say I became obsessed with Star Wars is an understatement of epic proportions.

    I bought everything Star Wars I could afford from my allowance or beg out of my parents. I collected the action figures and toys (when they were eventually released the next year). I devoured the comic book adaptation. I started drawing Star Wars stories of my own (Dart Vader lives!). I even made my own Star Wars films using stuffed animals, a 16mm movie camera, and time-consuming stop-motion photography. I was a pioneer in special effects, using a magnifying glass and permanent markers to draw laser blasts and lightsabers directly on the film. My world revolved around Star Wars, and once I rented the movie on VHS for the 100th time, I didn't want my old world back.

    But it was three years later that my obsession would be rewarded with one of the greatest movies of all time: The Empire Strikes Back. Everything that made Star Wars such an incredible experience was doubled. The action was intense. The special effects were mind-blowing. But most important of all, the story was brilliant. It was everything you hope for in a sequel, but rarely get. It was... it is... the perfect film.

    Sadly, things took a drastic dive after Empire, but that did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for all things Star Wars, even to this very day.

    I lived through the heinous embarrassment of the Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks. I survived all the inane burp and fart jokes that all but destroyed Star Wars credibility. I endured through the devastating "acting" of Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen in the awful, awful prequels. I remained faithful as Lucas butchered his original brilliance in "special editions" where Greedo shoots first. I stuck it out as serious science fiction was degraded for the sake of making toys. But despite it all (or perhaps because of it all?), I still love Star Wars.

    Star Wars Logo

    Which is why today, in celebration of 30 years of Star Wars, I am re-watching all the movies on DVD while I get some work done.

    Hmmm...

    Boy was Luke Skywalker a whiny little bitch back at the beginning! I still wince when I hear: "But I was going into Toshi's Station to pick up some powerrrr converterrrrrrrs!" or "Uncle Owennnnn! This R-2 unit has a bad motivatorrrrrr!" and most of all "It's just not fairrrrrr!" I can't believe that Han never bitch-slapped the little whiner. Hard.

    Oh well. I guess it all turned out okay in the end.

    At least until George Lucas had Hayden Christensen show up as a Jedi Ghost at the end of Jedi and screwed it all up.

    Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 32

    Posted on Sunday, May 27th, 2007

    Dave!It's a Bullet Sunday Holiday! Well, not really... I'm still catching up on piles and piles of work over Memorial Day weekend. But at least it's quiet.

    • DaveToons. While I was on vacation, I worked on one of the many animated sequences for my video. I'm guessing that I'm about 25%-30% finished now. The cool thing about the project is that I am trying really hard to put Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey in places and situations I've never drawn before. It helps to keep things interesting to me so I don't get bored. Outer-space seemed to be a natural, but since I had already done Star Wars and Star Trek stuff before, I decided to take a more "reality-based" approach this time, choosing instead to make them astronaut heroes...

    DaveToons Animation Boards

    DaveToons Animation Boards

    DaveToons Animation Boards

    • Robin. One of my favorite Disney toons when I was a kid was Robin Hood. Growing up, I continued to enjoy the character, and was glad that there were plenty of books and movies to explore. Unfortunately, the movies were dated and crappy, but in the mid-80's there was a British television series called Robin of Sherwood which is probably the best interpretation of the character I've ever seen (even when Jason Connery took over for the amazing Michael Praed after series two). The show was tough and gritty, filled with brilliant acting and an almost spiritual reverence for the characters.I've re-watched the episodes many times, and purchased the DVD set a while back. Then in 1991 disaster struck. The Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was unleashed. This steaming pile of shit was beyond bad, and killed Robin to me for years. Flash forward a decade-and-a-half, and the BBC has taken another stab at Robin Hood with a 13-episode series which has also been airing on BBC America. This time they've attempted to modernize the story a bit, with mixed results...

    Robin Hood

    On one hand, they did try to do away with Robin as some kind of poser prancing through the forest in tights and blow-dry hair. This Robin is a mangy scavenger which seems more realistic to me. In addition, they've done a fairly good job of casting the roles, and have filmed the show beautifully, with lush photography and some nice cinematography. Where the show falls flat is that it's a bit boring and drawn-out. Robin starts out as a kind of wimpy pacifist, and there's not a lot of action to be had. In the end I'd have to say I liked it okay, but it still pales in comparison to Robin of Sherwood, which is a real shame. It's my understanding that they have started filming a second series, so I can only hope that the show will improve as it moves forward... the world needs Robin Hood now more than ever.

    • Fuzz. Finally got to see Hot Fuzz this weekend and absolutely loved it. Coming from the creators of the fantastic comedy-horror film Shaun of the Dead, this is a tongue-in-cheek look at all those quaint English countryside tele-dramas... but nicely blended with comedy, action, violence, and occasional gory situations. As if that wasn't enough, there's actually a really good mystery story to build upon, and all the acting is top-notch. Much of the humor and situations will be lost on American audiences, but I think that's why it's so amazing... they dumbed it down for nobody. Brilliant writer/star Simon Pegg was not afraid to start the film out slow, gradually building to a violent and action-packed finale that will have Shaun of the Dead fans cheering.

    Hot Fuzz

    In the movie, London police officer Nicholas Angel is so good at his job that he's making everybody else on the force look bad. The solution? Ship him off to the boring English countryside where he won't have the opportunity to show up anybody. But things are never quite what they seem, even in the sleepy village of Sandford, where everybody has secrets and a shocking mystery is waiting to be uncovered. Five stars from me.

    • Fascism. When I made my Blogography Political Sanity Chart last Wednesday, a couple of people asked why I didn't have Ann Coulter on it representing the Nut-Job Right. The reason is that such a hateful, fascist, moronic, lying bitch would throw off the entire balance, causing the chart to be completely messed up like this...

    Political Sanity 2

    Ann Coulter goes beyond "dangerous" and skates right up to "total fucking destruction." Her never-ending parade of hate and lies is so horrendously bad for this country that the damage she's done is incalculable. She professes to love America, but preaches against everything this country stands for. She's nothing but a skanky whore that will say anything, anything... regardless of consequences... to sell her piece of shit books. The fact that people even listen to what she has to say is surely a sign of the Apocalypse. Ann Coulter is representative of everything that is wrong with the USA, and indicative of all we must triumph over before we can come together and start rebuilding the America we once were.
    "I take the Biblical idea. God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees... God says, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'" — Ann Coulter (obviously living up to her really fucked-up interpretation of The Bible).

    Ugh. Time to get back to work. And I had better think of washing clothes too, because my pile of dirty vacation clothes is starting to smell funny...

       

    Paprika

    Posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

    Dave!"The 24-bit eggplant will be analyzed!"

    I always pay a visit to Rotten Tomatoes before I even think about seeing a movie. But when I noticed that Satoshi Kon had a new film out called パプăƒȘă‚« (Papurika = Paprika) I didn't care what any critic might have to say. This is the genius behind one of the best animated films ever, Millennium Actress, and I knew immediately that I simply must see it. I had essentially been working two jobs all day, and this was just what I needed to decompress before going back to the hotel for another five hours of work that still needed to be done.

    Turns out I didn't need to worry. Rotten Tomatoes has an aggregated score of 90% Fresh for Paprika, and I totally loved it.

    Paprika4

    The story centers around a brilliant woman psychologist named Dr. Chiba who is working with a team of dream research scientists. Thanks to the invention of a device known as "DC Mini" she can enter the dreams of patients as her psychic alter-ego, Paprika, and help them with their psychological problems. Unfortunately, a set of three DC Mini devices are stolen, and somebody is using them to merge reality into the dream world. It's now up to Dr. Chiba/Paprika to figure out how to track down the devices, find out who is behind the theft, and save the world from madness.

    The result is a mind-bending explosions of animated imagery that's about the coolest thing you'll see this year.

    Paprika1

    Paprika2

    Paprika3

    To be honest though, this movie will not appeal to everybody. People who don't care for Japanese anime may be put off by the fantastical story elements and nonsensical visuals that permeate the film. Another problem is that the plot for Paprika may be difficult to follow for those used to having every last detail spelled out for them, and don't like to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. But if you can put your brain on hold and just go with it, this in one film that's really worth seeing.

    And as much as I enjoyed Paprika, the movie soundtrack is almost even more impressive, and has some very cool music by Susumu Hirasawa (who also scored Millennium Actress). The film's theme song The Girl in Byakkoya has been stuck in my head from the moment the movie started. Fortunately the track is available at the iTunes Music Store, so I can obsess over it until my mind goes mooshy. If you even think you might like Japanese Electronica... you can sample the album at iTMS (Meditation Field and A Drop Filled with Memories are beautiful).

    Lastly, for anybody interested, Apple has the super-sweet movie trailer for Paprika on their QuickTime site, which will give you a taste of what you're in for (turn your volume way up to hear that amazing Hirasawa soundtrack!).

    How depressing that Japan regularly cranks out these amazing animated art-pieces that are challenging and thought-provoking, and we get tired retread shit like Shrek III. Blargh.

    Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  23 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Recovery

    Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

    Dave!Firstly, to all my friends and family reading this who know about the situation here in Seattle... thanks for your thoughts, prayers, and positive energy. This has been one of the longest days in my life but, despite all the delays and the waiting, everything turned out with the best possible results we could hope for.

    Waiting, as they say, is the hardest part.

    In an effort to distract my head, I put in a very full day. First I went to see Transformers, which was pretty freakin' cool. I love that they never cheated you out of a transformation or a battle. You see everything. And there are few things better than watching giant robots beat the crap out of each other...

    Transformers

    Where the film failed me was in the utterly pointless deviations from the actual story. By the time we got to Sam's mom talking about masturbation, I was just plain pissed. It wasn't funny. It wasn't interesting. It was just needless distraction. Why? And then there's the whole military sub-plot that goes nowhere. Why? But worst of all... John Turturro, who I actually enjoy as an actor, plays a character "Agent Simmons" who was so unbelievably annoying and stupid that he very nearly ruined the movie for me. Why? Somebody needs to be in the editing room with Michael Bay so they can slap him upside the head when he makes stupid decisions to include crap like this, because otherwise it was pretty good flick.

    Then I went to see Fantastic Four 2, which was better than the awful first film, but still a far cry from what a Fantastic Four film should be. The only real reason to see the movie is for Silver Surfer, who rightfully kicks ass...

    Silver Surfer

    I found myself almost wishing that the Fantastic Four weren't in their own film so I could see more of him. That's pretty sad. Overall it was mediocre, but I was glad to have seen it.

    And, of course, I stopped to take a look at the iPhone up close and in person. And, of course, it's just as amazing as everybody says it is. And, of course, I want to have an iPhone now more than ever before. Everything about it is just cool. Particularly the screen and web browser, which is mind blowing...

    iPhone Blogography

    Blogography looks great, and is totally readable in horizontal mode, even without zooming...

    iPhone Blogography

    A pity that they're sold out absolutely everywhere.

    But not surprising.

       

    Fact!

    Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2007

    Dave!I was just flicking through channels and see that BravoTV is airing Eddie Murphy: RAW... except they are silencing all the curses. This makes the jokes incomprehensible, and renders the entire show 50% silent. Why even attempt run a censored version of Eddie Murphy standup? It makes no sense.

    Anyway, earlier today I mentioned on a message board that had I re-watched Battlefield Earth this weekend and was surprised that it wasn't as horrendously terrible as I had remembered. Sure the acting was mostly awful and the makeup on the Psychlos was embarrassingly bad (their "hands" didn't work, and looked like giant mittens)... but it had good FX, a passable (if implausible) story, and was decent mindless entertainment. Whatever...

    Battlefield Lame

    A couple of hours later, some dumbass leaves this enlightening response...

    "Don't be such a fag. Battlefield Earth sucked and that's a FACT!!!

    I ignored his obvious struggle with his sexuality, and went on to explain that Battlefied Earth "sucking" was an opinion, not a fact. Believe it or not, there actually are people who like it, and the flick did receive a few positive reviews by the critics. But, much like Bill O'Reilly, the moron simply could not distinguish between opinion and fact. The conversation immediately degenerated into idiocy, at which point I took my leave. I'd rather give up than waste time with inane crap like this.

    Much like I've given up on the antiquated and stupid state of patent law. I've written about the absurdity of the US patent system before, but without using curse words. Today I feel like writing about it again, but this time I can't be as generous in watching my language (much like Eddie Murphy in RAW)...

    Rated R

    If you're not afraid of the word "fuck" and aren't bothered by mindless ranting, then feel free to proceed...

    → Click here to continue reading this entry...

       

    Self-Assigned

    Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

    Dave!BUILT-IN ETHERNET IS CURRENTLY ACTIVE. BUILT-IN ETHERNET HAS A SELF-ASSIGNED IP ADDRESS AND MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET.

    Sigh.

    I've got to start staying in a different hotel. Bad enough that this place doesn't have wireless and I have to bring my own ethernet cable for internet... even worse that it doesn't work half the time, so I end up having to drag my sorry ass down to the lobby for their crappy lobby wireless (which is almost as bad). Why is it some hotels just don't seem to get it? Most everybody NEEDS reliable internet now-a-days. If you don't provide it, and people are going to go somewhere else.

    Today was yet another three-hour drive through n-o-t-h-i-n-g to the "Inland Empire" of Spokane. It's a hypnotic journey of flat plains and wide-open spaces...

    Road to Spokane

    Road to Spokane

    The good news is that if you leave at the right time of day, you don't have to share the road with anybody. The bad news is that if you've done the drive once, you've done it a million times... and it's always the same.

    Of course, once you actually get to Spokane, you can drown your sorrows in two delicious slices of the Best Pizza in The Universe at David's Pizza...

    David's Pizza AGAIN

    I know I've blogged about this pizza like a hundred times now, but that's about all there is for me to write about here. I've lost count of the number of times I've taken that same photo composition, but oh well... here it is again: two slices of DaVinci pizza with a Stewart's Orange Cream Soda (which, coincidentally, is exactly what I would order for my last meal if I were on death row).

    After dinner, I went to go see The Simpsons Movie which was kind of boring. The show definitely works better when the writers are condensed for time on your typical half-hour episode. Giving them 90 minutes just drags everything out. The real reason I wanted to see it, however, was to know if anything in the film would have a lasting affect on The Simpsons' "universe." For one character it actually does, which made me a bit sad (hey, I liked that character!).

    And now it's time to head back to the lobby so I can post this. Fortunately, everything else I wanted to do on the internet tonight can be done on my iPhone while running around my hotel room in my underwear.

    They don't let you do that in the lobby.

    Categories: Movies 2007, Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  28 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Flash!

    Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2007

    Dave!♫ Ahhh AHHHHHHH! He'll save every one of us! ♫

    I finally got around to watching the Sci-Fi Channel's Flash Gordon show. I was really stoked for the series, which is why I was devastated to find out that it sucks ass. This is probably one of the worst television shows ever, and that's saying a lot. Not only is the writing complete and total shite, but the acting is horrendously bad and the special effects (what few of them they use) are laughable. I can't find a single thing worth praising on this trainwreck of a series, and am dumbfounded that Sci-Fi... who are supposed to be fans of good science fiction... would screw things up this badly.

    Which begs the question... how could you possibly fuck up Flash Gordon? There's so much source material to work from.

    I mean, come on, the crazy-cheesey 27-year-old movie staring Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, and Max von Sydow was sheer genius by comparison. I love that flick! Not only have I see the film dozens of times and purchased all iterations released that I could find (VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Import Special Edition DVD, and Saviour of the Universe Edition DVD), I've also got the movie poster framed and hanging on my wall...

    Flash Gordon Poster

    And here's the puzzler... the writing on this film was over-the-top, the acting was far from great, and the special effects weren't anything to write home about (though there was a musical score by Queen!). So why did the movie work, while the television show fails so miserably?

    BECAUSE IT WAS ENTERTAINING!! Hell, I'd argue that the FIFTY year-old Black & White Buster Crabbe serials were more fun to watch that this shitty television atrocity!

    In the movie, Flash was trying to save the entire earth. In the TV show, Flash was trying to find an iMac (or whatever). In the movie, Ming was a sadistically evil egomaniac. In the TV show, Ming is a whiny little bitch. In the movie, Dr. Zarkov is a brilliantly mad scientist. In the TV show, Dr. Zarkov is a bumbling idiot. In the movie, Aura is a brutally hot psychotic bitch. In the TV show, Aura is just plain boring. Much like the show itself... totally boring.

    Flash Gordon fans deserve so much better.

    Dave Flash Gordon

    With even a little effort and creativity, a new Flash Gordon show could have been brilliant. I was counting on it being brilliant. Instead I was only setting myself up for disappointment.

    Stupid Sci-Fi Channel bastards.

       

    Superbad

    Posted on Monday, August 20th, 2007

    Dave!My work schedule keeps changing. One minute I've got two days before I start... the next minute I've got two hours. This makes any grand adventure out of the question, so I decided to just wander down toward Milwaukee and catch a movie or something.

    But first, breakfast.

    Since it was 11:30am before I got my work situation figured out, I missed my breakfast window of opportunity... but still wanted breakfast. Remembering that Cracker Barrel serves breakfast all day, I decide to see if there's a location near me. Thanks to iPhone, stuff like this is simple...

    1. Wake up iPhone and select Google Maps.
    2. Enter my location and press the "search" button.
    3. Type in "Cracker Barrel" and press the "search" button.

    And, just like that, iPhone pops up with the nearest Cracker Barrel down on County Line Road Q in Menomonee Falls (if Apple ever adds a GPS unit, that would eliminate step 2...hint, hint). Have I said how much I totally love my iPhone?

    After a plate of eggs and corn bread muffins with a side of grits, I consult iPhone once again to see what movies are playing at the AMC down at the Mayfair Mall. Turns out that Superbad doesn't start until 1:40, so I decide to take a look at the new Apple Store at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale before I go. I have no idea where that is but, once again, iPhone comes to the rescue with detailed maps and driving directions, complete with traffic status. How did I ever get along in life without it?

    The Glendale Apple Store is nice enough, but it turns out that Bayshore Town Center is a kind of elitist-fascist shopping area with a "Code of Conduct" posted at the entrances. Rules include "no congregating in groups of more than four people" and "no profanity" and "you must carry photo identification" and "no unauthorized photography." This kind of scary crap made me feel very much out of place and unwelcome, so I decided to bail. But not before screaming "FUCK YOU BAYSHORE TOWN CENTER" at the top of my lungs and taking this completely unauthorized photo of the Apple Store there...

    Apple Store Bayshore Town Center

    Surprisingly, this anti-conduct behavior did not cause a swarm of security guards to come beat me up and kick me out of Bayshore Town Center as I expected. It's too bad, because then I would have REALLY had something to blog about.

    Then I was off to the much more sane and friendly Mayfair Mall, where I arrived just in time to see Superbad. Except not really. Once the twenty minutes of commercials, advertising, previews, and crap had aired, THEN I got to see the movie.

    Superbad was pretty darn funny, and seeing Michael Cera on the big screen just makes me miss Arrested Development all the more. Oddly enough, however, I found the main story-line with Jonah Hill to be kind of annoying... it was the sub-plot with two cops played by Bill Hader (funnier here than he's ever been on Saturday Night Live) and Seth Rogen (who co-wrote Superbad) that completely stole the show for me. Funny, funny, stuff... McLovin.

    Almost as funny as when I went to pick up my rental car yesterday and saw that two guys had decided to ignore the warning signs, arrows, and big-ass spikes so they could exit through the entrance gate...

    Severe Tire Damage

    I hope that they purchased the full insurance coverage option on their rental. But I'm guessing that they probably didn't, because once I got inside I noticed them in a heated discussion with the manager. I think that they were actually trying to blame him for their mistake, so good luck with that guys!

    And now I'm at work. But I can't hook my laptop up to internet here for some reason, so heaven only knows when I'll get to post this (my schedule has me working straight through until 9:00am). Bleh. Maybe I can escape for a midnight "lunch break" or something.

    UPDATE: And so I run back to my hotel where I will have internet to post this, and decide to stop at McDonald's for a large fries and a chocolate shake. But when I get to my room and open the bag, I see that my large fries is only HALF-FULL!!! Frickin' rip-off McDonald's bastards! Is nothing sacred?

       

    Wrong

    Posted on Monday, August 27th, 2007

    Dave!And so I'm back from Chicago browsing through all the TV shows stacked up on my TiVo, when I notice that one of my favorite shows, My Boys has several new episodes waiting for me. I've always known that the show is based in Chicago, but I never realized how entrenched the show is in Chicago until tonight. The characters regularly drop the names of Chi-Town locations I've been to or through, but it wasn't until they talked about eating tapas at Emilio's that it finally sunk in. That's the restaurant where RW invited me to dinner, then subsequently went insane and had to be taken away by the police (or something like that). It's cool to know that not only is the show funny, but it works hard at being authentic as well.

    Anyway...

    On the way home from work today, I made the turn onto my street and noticed something odd in the distance. A car on my side of the road was going in the wrong direction, heading straight for me. Thinking that it was a temporary adjustment because of a cat or pothole (or whatever) on their side of road, I wasn't worried. But he never went back into his lane. He kept coming. My concerned deepened when he started honking his horn as he approached. Not knowing what else to do, I slowed down to a near-stop, and waited to see what's going on. But the guy kept coming. And once he got almost to the hood of my car, he swerved into the proper lane (still honking), flipping me off as he passed, then went back into my lane.

    And then it happened.

    Suddenly I found that I was doubting myself over something I knew to be correct.

    "Holy crap! Am I driving in the wrong lane?!?"

    It was only for a fleeting second that I thought the right lane was the wrong lane, but it's been bothering me all night. I'm a total genius! How could I question myself like that? Especially over something so fundamental like driving, which I do every day.

    It's a mystery. And I still don't know why that guy was driving on the wrong side of the road. Perhaps he just got back from living in England or something? Dunno.

    And, lastly, speaking of wrong...

    NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    Geeks of Doom is reporting that Keanu Reeves has been tapped to play Klaatu in the remake of one of my favorite films ever, The Day The Earth Stood Still. I mean, come on, the movie really doesn't need to be remade in the first place... but Keanu Reeves?!? That's like getting Bender from Futurama to play the intergalactic peace-keeping robot Gort...

    Keanu Day The Earth Stood Still

    Heh, heh, heh... "Klaatu barada niktooooo-bite my shiny metal ass, humans!"

    It's a sick, sad world.

    Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Blu-Ray

    Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2007

    Dave!For better or worse, I'm an early adopter.

    I love tech gadgetry, and have always put myself on the bleeding edge of new technology... from computers, phones, and cameras, to stereos, media players, and video games. I am always seeking out the newest of the new to play with. Sometimes I get burned (MiniDisc Music Player, Apple QuickTake Camera, Panasonic Recordable DVD Player, to name a few) but overall I've been happy with my decision to be first out of the gate (and so are my friends and family, because they get the "old" equipment it replaces).

    I was one of the first people in Washington State to own a DVD player. It was one of seven Sony reference players sold in Seattle, and cost just under $2000 once I got everything I needed. Sure that's a lot of money, but when a friend and I were invited to a technology demo of DVD in early 1997, I simply could not resist. The quality was such a huge leap over VHS tape that a total movie whore like myself was compelled to purchase it. As it turns out, this was money well-spent. My Sony DVP-S7000 player has been in service for almost 11 years now, surpassing the PIECE OF SHIT Panasonic Recordable DVD Player I bought a while back which never once managed to record a single DVD, despite two trips to the repair shop (which is why I will never buy from Panasonic again). I still curse director Kevin Smith for that mistake, because it was his advertisements that led me to buy Panasonic.

    Buying into DVD was an easy decision. It was superior to anything else out there (including my LaserDisc player... also an early adopter purchase), and was clearly the future of the home theater experience. I wasn't the least bit worried about investing in the technology, because all the major manufacturers and studios endorsed it. This was probably one of the safest bets I had ever made.

    Buying into Blu-Ray was not an easy decision. Mostly because manufacturers and studios are split between endorsing Blu-Ray and a competing format, HD-DVD. Choose wrong, and it's the Betamax vs. VHS tape format war all over again... and somebody is going to lose. That time, it was Sony's Beta that lost, so jumping onto their Blu-Ray format was not a sure bet. So I waited.

    But soon it became clear that there wasn't going to be an early victory in the format war. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD were both surviving at a near-equal pace. This was going to be a long, very stupid, drawn-out battle, and if I didn't choose a side I would be waiting quite a while. So a few weeks ago I decided on Blu-Ray, because that's where Disney-Pixar was at. I wanted to buy their brilliant new film Ratatouille in Hi-Def, and you couldn't get it on HD-DVD. So I ordered a Samsung BD-P1400 player at $369 (which has subsequently dropped at many vendors to $339 because of Black Friday).

    The player itself is good, but not great. The biggest problem was that the BD-P1400 did not come with an actual hi-def cable! So right out of the box, I couldn't see the Blu-Ray movies I bought in the way they were meant to be seen. This brought up the nightmare of cable-shopping, because they are SO FREAKIN' EXPENSIVE! The cheapest HDMI cable I could find locally was $79! Fortunately, the good people at Optimized Cable Company had what I wanted at $19.95 (quick shipping...highly recommend). A few days later, and I was in business.

    PROS...
    The picture and sound are incredible. The clarity and detail in the picture has to be seen to be believed. This all came to light when I watched Terminator 2. At first, I thought the picture was just a little better. But then I played the same movie on "regular" DVD and started switching between the two. The difference was astounding. Tiny details like hair and other small elements were noticeably blurrier when I dropped out of Blu-Ray. Since I can't do a screen capture of Blu-Ray (yet), I decided to simulate what a very small Terminator looks like when extracted from a scene and blown up. It's something like this...

    Bluraycompare
    Simulated DVD Enlargement on the left, simulated Blu-Ray enlargement on the right.

    Of course, the quality of the picture is wholly dependent on the source material. My Blu-Ray movie of Superman II, The Richard Donner Cut is an older film with noticeable softness and grain. Blu-Ray actually seems to make this more noticeable, because it presents such flaws so clearly. On the other hand, for movies like Ratatouille, which was a 100% digital conversion, there are -zero- flaws, and the picture quality is jaw-dropping spectacular.

    CONS...
    For reasons that totally escape me, Blu-Ray movies takes FOREVER to start up. Unlike a DVD player where you drop in the disc and can start watching immediately, Blu-Ray has a lot of waiting. At first I thought it was my Samsung BD-1400 that was to blame, but a quick check in online forums shows that this is a common problem in all hi-def players. This is really frustrating, and difficult to comprehend. Three steps forward in quality, one step backwards in convenience. Other than excessive waits for menus and such, the only other quality problem I've noted is occasional stuttering in some movies. It's very quick, so it's not too distracting, but can be irritating. Hopefully a future firmware upgrade will help solve this. But the biggest con? Some hi-def titles are not available on Blu-Ray, the studio having chosen to go the HD-DVD route. This includes many favorites (like the remastered Star Trek: The Original Series) and is kind of a bummer. Not wanting to buy a new film on the older format when not available for Blu-Ray, I've decided to rent them on Netflix until a Blu-Ray version is (hopefully) released. I suppose I could buy a second HD-DVD player (or a new combi-player) but really don't want to divide my media like that.

    The worst part of switching from DVD to Blu-Ray is my existing library of now-antiquated DVD movies, because it's not like I am going to run out and re-buy my entire collection again. Fortunately, the BD-1400 has "upconverter" technology which makes my old DVDs look pretty darn good, so this is not much of an issue for me. I'll re-buy some of my favorites, and absolutely buy new titles in Blu-Ray... but the bulk of my collection with remain in "regular" DVD.

    In the end, I am happy to recommend Blu-Ray over DVD. I am not, however, ready to recommend Blu-Ray over HD-DVD. The quality is reported to be about the same, so it's a personal choice as to which road to take. Many people might want to wait for the "combi-players" to come out so they can play either... but if you want to go with a single HD format, the choice will have to be made as to which has more movies and studio support that you're interested in.

    Am I happy with my decision? Sure.

    Am I confident I backed the right Hi-Def format? I have no idea.

    In the meanwhile, I'll be enjoying the stunning quality and terrific sound that Blu-Ray offers. Movies at home have never looked better.

    Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  33 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 57

    Posted on Sunday, November 25th, 2007

    Dave!Where did this day go? Seriously, it's coming up on dinner-time and it feels like I just woke up a couple of hours ago. I know I went to work, but I didn't get nearly enough done. Must be a Bullet Sunday.

    • Pole! What is it with the latest fitness trends that keep popping up, disappearing, then popping up again? I'm seeing ads (once again) for POLE DANCING as exercise. I could make a number of smart-ass comments here, but instead I decided to buy a pole and get into shape! Off I went to Amazon to get an instructional video... and imagine my surprise when I found out there's a whole world of slutty exercise programs to choose from!

    Poledancingexcercise

    And now I can't decide if I want to learn exotic dancing, pole dancing, lap dancing, or bump n' grind strip-dancing. My gut instinct is to stick with pole dancing, but I'm thinking there's more money to be made in lap dancing. At least that's always been the case when I'm paying for it. Because, hey, there's nothing to say a guy can't earn a little cash while getting into shape.

    • South Park! Last night I finally had a chance to pull out my South Park: The Complete 10th Season DVD set and watch my second favorite episode of the series ever: Make Love, Not Warcraft (my all-time favorite being Christian Rock Hard). In addition to being hysterically funny, the episode is just so incredibly well made. I'd go so far as to say that it's practically flawless. Anybody who hasn't seen it should definitely take a look...

    Make Love, Not Warcraft

    • WOW! Included with my new South Park DVD set, there was a free 14-day trial for World of Warcraft. This is a really brilliant idea, because after having watched that South Park episode, I was in the mood to give it a try. I had played the original WarCraft games but, since I am not so much into the whole "online massive multi-player" thing, I never tried WOW. And now that I have, I know what all the fuss is about. It's pretty sweet!

    Dave WOW!
    This is me! I'm a Tauren Shamen, which I picked because he looks badass cool.

    Dave WOW!
    I use my mace to unleash my righteous fury on giant turkeys.

    Dave WOW!
    Then I figure out that I can shoot lightning, which I use to fry green pigs.

    Dave WOW!
    Oh shit! I'm dead!! I got my ass handed to me by a giant super-pig!

    Dave WOW!
    Oooh! The moon is all pretty and stuff.

    For a while there, I was having me some fun... being all kick-ass by running around and killing giant turkeys and pigs and stuff. But then people started asking me to join their group every 15 minutes, and I didn't want to play anymore. I don't want to join a group. I'm busy all the time, and can't commit to playing with a group... I just want people to leave me alone. But I couldn't find a way to hang a big "DON'T ASK ME TO BE IN YOUR GROUP" sign around my neck, so I gave up and stopped playing. Oh well. Hopefully Blizzard will release Warcraft IV soon, so I can play alone. Of course, right now I'm more interested in Starcraft II, which is the sequel to my favorite Blizzard game of all time.

    &bull Starbucks! I have written about the song I Love N.Y.E. by Badly Drawn Boy (from the amazing About A Boy movie soundtrack) a couple of times now (here and here). It's beautiful, magical, and I've always been puzzled as to why it was never nabbed for a television commercial. Well, somebody really smart in Starbucks' marketing department finally found it, and it's playing on a really cool animated ad for their calorie-laden holiday drinks (it's got penguins in it!). Beutifully done, Starbucks! If you're curious about this wonderful piece of music, you can take a listen at iTunes here.

    • Ghost Rider! After goofing off with WOW, I capped off my evening by watching my Blu-Ray copy of Nicholas Cage in Ghost Rider. It's not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a fun movie to watch and has nifty special effects. The critics, of course, savaged the movie in their reviews (it mustered only 28% on Rotten Tomatoes), which is probably justified, but kind of lame since this was such an easy target. I mean, come on, it's got a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle and Nicholas Cage in a hairpiece for crying out loud! At some point you have to just let go...

    Ghost Rider!

    Besides, any movie that's got Sam Elliott and Peter Fonda in it can't be too bad!

    And thus ends Bullet Sunday (though I've got a iTunes meme in an extended entry which was tagged me by James). Tomorrow I'm traveling cross-country, so my entry for Monday will be posted pretty late. For anybody interested, I'll be updating my journey throughout the day via DaveStalker™, so feel free to travel along with me if you've got nothing better to do.

    → Click here to continue reading this entry...

       

    Speed

    Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2007

    Dave!Well today totally sucked ass.

    Just as I knew it would. I expected it to suck ass. Somehow I thought this foresight would make it easier to live through to the rain of shit that fell all over my life, but I was wrong. So wrong. With every new horror that popped up, I was worn down just a little further. I haven't measured my height or anything, but I must be at least 3 feet shorter than I started out this morning. And my head hurts.

    But there was a bright spot when I woke up and saw that USA Today has a sneak peak at the new Speed Racer movie in production. And the photos are incredible. Word is that the Wachowski Brothers are creating a movie unlike anything seen before (not a surprise considering they were also responsible for The Matrix)...

    Mach 5

    Speed Racer

    I was a massive fan of the original Speed Racer cartoon when I was a kid (it had a monkey in it!), and am really psyched to see how this film is going to play out. Unfortunately, I have a long five months to wait. In the meanwhile, I guess I'll just go stare at the sneak peak photos again, and play make-believe Speed Racer like I used to...

    Dave Racer

    And then prepare myself for yet another crappy day tomorrow.

    UPDATE: The Speed Racer teaser trailer is now online. This is going to be so cool. Look, it's Chim Chim!!

    Chim Chim

    Chim Chim

       

    Hero

    Posted on Saturday, December 29th, 2007

    Dave!Is there anything more terrifying than having a few drinks and playing Guitar Hero?

    I suck ass at even the "easy" level, and alcohol doesn't seem to help.


    Dave Hero

    In happier news, I finally saw the film Kinky Boots and am absolutely astounded at the acting ability (flexibility?) of Chiwetel Ejiofor. The guy is amazingly talented. His role as "The Operative" in Serenity is by far my favorite, but his playing the transvestite "Lola" in Kinky Boots blew my mind. Now I am really wanting to see Dirty Pretty Things.

    Despite being rainy and a bit depressing, the weather in Seattle is still a massive improvement over Spokane.

       

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