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Monday, March 27, 2006

Cinematic Shakedown

The last couple weeks in moviegoing have gone unreported... A disservice to all loyal readers and my own need to document impressions of this world gone mad during what must surely be our "end days". So here's the rundown:

Ultraviolet vomited up more horrific acting onto the screen than any film since the StarWars franchise sank beneath its own Jabba the Hutt physique. If Milla Jovavich doesn't win a Razzie this year, you know the fix is in. Also, if you're going to put filters on all your cinematography to make people look like plastic comic book characters, tell them to shave first. It looked like most of the male cast had random pubes superglued to their chin, like they had just finished going down on each other and hadn't bothered to wash their faces. (Note: the film became much more entertaining when we abandoned theater etiquette and started cracking jokes amongst ourselves.)

Conversely, Capote was a triumph of acting. Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman showed off why he's the greatest actor ever! I'm even going to have to endure Mission Impossible 3 later this year just to see him play a villain. I can only hope he'll be used half so effectively as he was in Punch Drunk Love. And Catherine Keener... let's just say she kicks Reese Witherspoon's keister.

Dave Chapelle's Block Party is surprisingly good for two reasons. First, Michael Gondry is a capable filmmaker that injects a great deal of love and creativity into what could have been a boring documentary. Secondly, as the film unfolds and you witness the chemistry and collective artistry of the musicians, it's hard to not conceive of them as an artistic "school" on par with the CBGB scene, British New Wave, or Brazil's Bossanova explosion. All together, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Common, Talib Kweli, John Legend, Cody Chesnutt, the Fugees, Dead Prez, the Roots, Kanye West and Jill Scott present a united, indefatigable genius. Chapelle plays ringmaster to this crew and folds his comedic skills in deftly, but his true contribution is his great taste in music. His fandom of all these acts shines through, and he brings them together to show some love.

And finally, I did see the Jenny McCarthy vehicle, Dirty Love. And... I loved it! It was totally better than Crash. Seen in the proper venue (with 3 friends who all sat back and cracked jokes and saw the film as an absurdist romp) this film is absolutely entertaining: A solid three stars. Plus, I have to give Jenny some props for writing a script. Humor isn't easy, and this film wasn't near the stinkbomb that I'd been lead to believe it was. It was, for example, much better than half of "comedic genius" Will Farrell's movies.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Humor found in Misery

Bummerman found the following quote, while investigating job satisfaction trends in non-profit work.

"The whole reason I like working at a non-profit and put up with the lower pay is so that I can work in an environment that feels supportive, where supervisors pat you on the back and everyone takes pride in doing good work.

The more I'm forced to comply with their new standards, the more inclined I am to call in sick and steal office supplies on a daily basis. I wonder if they have a chart to graph that statistical trend."

Apparently I'm not the only one not really enjoying the corporate takeover of non-profit boards of directors. Efficiency measure my middle finger flipping you the bird corporate America!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bellevue Cinema Renewed and Reviewed

Recently, one of those Bellevue cineplexes, a theater ripe for multi-movie marathons, recently changed ownership. It was taken over by an independent owner and is now dubbed Lincoln Square Cinema. Changes have been made, and I'm happy to say, all of them are good. The free parking remains (a key feature for any theater where you plan to spend 4+ hours taking in several movies... this almost makes up for the cost of the gas it takes to drive to Bellevue!) The lax security remains... thank god some bean-counters decided it was more cost effective to let cheapskates steal an occasional movie rather than posting acne-faced security guards all over the place. And the chairs are significantly more comfortable! (Unbelievably important when you plan to sit on your ass for an entire day.) Another advantage to newer Eastside buildings... they don't skimp on space. There aren't any tiny screens or cramped awkward seating arrangements ala The Metro or The Crest. And the new screens and speakers are solid... apparently using new 2K digital projector technology. The biggest sigh of relief is probably the lack of ads before the movie starts. I know many of you love "The 20" or have fond memories of Soapy singing, "I want to BREAK FREE" along with the Coke commercials... but it ain't happening here. Just a silent slide show of dumb trivia questions and local advertisers.

So now that I know how easy it is to see 2 or 3 movies of my choice, the only questions are the quantity and quality of their fare. Right now they're screening 18 different movies... many of the major Oscar players plus some typical crap but also two quality films: Block Party and The 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Last week we saw Block Party (great) and Ultra Violet (early frontrunner for Razzie awards: Worst Actress, Worst Screenplay, Worst Film, Worst Director.) So if you never saw Good Night and Good Luck, Capote, etc. maybe you can take them all in in a single swoop.

Special notes: Matinee price is only available if your first showtime is before 2pm.
We didn't try the popcorn... so I can't comment on that.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Damn You IHOP!

Well, it's finally happened. I knew it would. Someone has stolen the first of my million dollar ideas.

Well, the first was actually the "clitorette": A cigarette designed to target homophobic males who suspected that smoking made them look gay (or lesbians who feared smoking might make them straight!) It was a smoke with a filter designed to replicate the smell, color and shape of the clitoris rather than a plain old phalic cigarette. Besides, women look sexy with a cigarette in their mouths because they are symbolically (and publicly) performing a sex act; why shouldn't men enjoy the same privilege?

But IHOP would never be bold enough to steal the clitorette idea. No, they've instead stolen my plan to mass-market deep fried cheesecake. Cheesecake has long been the richest, most decadent dessert available. So, of course, we should have it deep fried! It's the American way. My original plan was to flash-fry frozen balls of cheesecake rolled in graham cracker crumbs. Then serve them like McNuggets with a variety of dipping sauces typically associated with cheesecake: lemon, raspberry, chocolate, etc. IHOP has instead wrapped it in a flaky crust, surrounded it with fried bananas and oozed caramel sauce all over the top. Needless to say, it was pretty damn good. And the blogosphere is abuzz about it.

OK... since I realize that no one smokes anymore (and IHOP beat me to the implementation of my other great idea) I'm just going to toss out my last great plan for becoming filthy rich. Hopefully someone will make a fortune and then give me a percentage out of guilt. And no, this isn't my crackpot idea of having a ceramic sculpture of a roll of toilet paper in your bathroom just to fool people into thinking it was safe to do their business... and then, surprise!

My last great idea is simple. Chinese and Mexican food used to have a strangle hold on America's appetite for ethnicity (Pizza is more American than Italian, and don't even get me started on the Olive Garden.) Then about 10 years ago, Thai food came along and kicked the crap out of everything else. I think half of America is living on chicken phad thai at this point. BUT, it's really hard to get thai food delivered. There's about 100 pizza joints and Chinese places that will rush food right to your door, but I don't know anywhere that will deliver excellent piping hot drunken noodles. So there you go... Thai (maybe Vietnamese too) delivery. Go forth and make millions of dollars. Just remember who loves ya baby.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Newsflash: Bummerman Hates Oscars!

"Freakin' Crash... Maybe I can still watch the Razzies instead."

Still pinioned to the couch and picking tortilla chips out of his navel, Bummerman moans and bellows, "Why... Why... Why did you make me watch the Oscars? You know how much ass they suck. You know how they make me drink until I'm near blind with rage. God damn you!"

Apparently we should have been watching the Razzies (the official "worst of the year" awards) which were nearly a sweep for the Jenny McCarthy sex-comedy vehicle Dirty Love. It took worst film, worst screenplay, worst director, worst actress, and Carmen Electra got a nomination for worst supporting actress. I immediately put it on my Netflix queue because I can't wait to see if I can write a review comparing it favorably to Crash.

But Crash's undeserved Best Picture award wasn't even the worst moment of the evening. Yeah, it made me puke up a bit of my banana-flavored grass jelly drink into the back of my throat... but the most revolting moment of the evening had to be Reese Witherspoon's acceptance speech. Here's a rewrite I could have stomached, "Oh my god, I'm so unworthy of this award... Thank you everyone, but Felicity Huffman clearly should have won. So I'm ... um... just going to shut my ignorant bumpkin piehole and get off the stage. Oh, and Dolly got robbed!"


Friday, March 03, 2006

Worry Not, Bummerman Still Lives

I know he's been sighted less frequently than a sane Republican, but Bummerman is still lurking. He's just waiting for a good opportunity to rear his ugly face. In the mean time he wanted to depress the Stave It Off faithful with this collage piece.


Solar Jet Squad

Vincent Scanlon busts a move, zero-gravity style.

My new fanboy project is to participate in a science-fiction hiphop universe, where I've become a former Skydeck pilot and current Solar Jet Squad rebel. We mostly crack on each other while running lunar orbit patterns and highjacking starfaring tourists. Sometimes we break out into intergalactic rap battles like Deltron3030 or argue about the merits of the metric system. It's kind of like playing The Sims, but totally different. You can hear all about it here. Hope you enjoy the tune... I promise never to rap again.