Monday, March 30, 2009
8. The legitimately phenomenal soundtrack.
Ms. Becky Abrams (a dear friend-of-the-blog) directed me to the following Amazon.com review of the Can’t Hardly Wait soundtrack. It’s an exhaustive compendium of all songs featured in the movie. Somewhere, Ethan Embry is grinning an impossibly large grin. You’ve got 90’s staples (your Eve 6’s, your Third Eye Blind’s), classic movie songs (“Romeo and Juliet” and “Paradise City” are in like, every movie ever), and to top it all off, the title comes from a Replacements song. YES. (Also, Yaz. There is a Yaz song. Remember Yaz? Yaz does.)
7. The “Holy shit, she/he’s in this!?!!?” factor.
You’re watching the movie, minding your nostalgia, when all of a sudden, baby Jason Segel is eating a watermelon and talking about Velma from Scooby Doo. Later on, “Oh, hello, Selma Blair. Gee, you have no lines in this movie.” Later still, “Eric Balfour and Freddy Rodriguez!? You guys don’t even get names! Lucky for you, you’ll both be on Six Feet Under.”
6. The feeling of “Wow, so people were okay with the word ‘fag’ in 1998?”
Seriously, they drop it like, six times. We don’t use that word in this house, frankly. Except when Tommy puts on Caitlin’s makeup.
5. Trip McNeely.
Jerry O’Connell has basically the best career of all-time. We can just admit that, right? Someone go write it down, so it’s true. He starts out as the fat kid in Stand By Me, then between the years of ’96 and ’99, he does Sliders, Scream 2, Jerry Maguire, Can’t Hardly Wait, and The muthafuckin’ 60’s! And NOW, he’s married to Rebecca Romijn and shows up on FunnyOrDie.com when he wants to.
4. The eternally quotable script.
I’d give you a top ten of my favorite lines, but as you may have noticed… list ideas are lean these days and I need all the material I can get. This should get you started, though. And I swear to God, if they ever make a t-shirt that says “Scott Baio: We All Have Our Things”, I’d buy it.
3. The goofy-ass scene transitions.
Here’s an example. Nerd’s last line in scene A: “People may even be having sex tonight!” Seth Green’s first line in scene B: “Yo, I gots to have sex tonight!” That feels like such a high school film production club thing to geek out on, but I still dig it. I dig it like a pony.
2. The little things that stick with you.
This is just one of those movies that spawns inside jokes. Ethan Embry’s garbled delivery of “harnessing my chi”… Erik Palladino’s ridiculous “Uh, it’s okay, baby!” after he tries to mack on his cousin… I could go on, but you get the point. I’ve seen this movie a million times and at this point, these are the reasons I keep watching it.
1. The fact that by the end, you genuinely don’t care if Preston and Amanda get together.
I mean, right? Don’t get me wrong, Ethan Embry is totally my boy—and I’m still shocked that Jennifer Love Hewitt didn’t get the Oscar for this—but this is one of those films whose payoff comes from the journey and not the destination.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Hi guys. So... I'm gonna go to Princeton for grad school. As per usual, I will celebrate with fictions.
8. Joe Cable (South Pacific)
How I am like him: My mom used to sing You’ve Got to Be Taught to me! (Because my mom decided I should learn about racism/musical theater at an early age.)
How I am not like him: I did not die in World War Two…
7. Osborne Cox (Burn After Reading)
How I am like him: I, too, am deadly with an axe!
How I am not like him: I have never been blackmailed by gym employees…
6. Carlton Banks (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
How I am like him: I have a deeply abiding love of argyle!
How I am not like him: I am white…
5. Bruce Wayne (Batman Begins)
How I am like him: I can do that fall-straight-to-the-ground-and-do-push-ups thing!
How I am not like him: Ugh, as much as this sucks to admit, I am not Batman…
4. Amory Blaine (This Side of Paradise)
How I am like him: I sometimes feel defined by the women in my life!
How I am not like him: Amory’s last words are, “I know myself and that is all”—I totes know more than that! I think…
3. Doogie Howser (Doogie Howser, MD)
How I am like him: At the end of the day, I like to write my thoughts on a computer!
How I am not like him: I don’t have an Italian-stereotype of a friend who enters my house through the window—or an MD…
2. Jack Donaghy (30 Rock)
How I am like him: I am a lion and I take what’s mine!
How I am not like him: Tonight, I ate dinner that came out of a microwaveable plastic bag…
1. Sam Seaborn (The West Wing)
1. Sam Seaborn (The West Wing)
How I am like him: According to the Facebook quiz I took tonight, we’re both “quick thinking, young intelligent and hot-headed, but maybe with a bit more to learn… a team player, [we] get along with everyone… [we also] have political ambitions that reach beyond [speechwriting and/or neuroscience] though.” Nice!
How I am not like him: Actually, nothing comes to mind!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Why do Koreans say fighting?
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Anyway, though... you all probably love the HBO series Flight of the Conchords. We do, too. And the thing is, as great as Bret and Jemaine are, they also have the BEST guest stars and supporting cast in all of television. All of these people will be your favorite people eventually.
(PS: This is just season one guest stars/supporting cast... THAT WAY WE CAN DO ANOTHER LIST LATER, PROBS!)
Plays Demetri in "The Third Conchord".
Plays Ben in "The Actor".
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Science! It's full of controversy! Like this one, which happens to be important to me! But guess what. Scientists have found things to argue about since, like, forever.
Basically, these two guys had a game where they shot electricity at each other. It got out of hand once and they became superhuman… with Edison as the hero and Tesla as the villain. This is all just to say, you could make a friggin’ sweet comic book out of Tesla and Edison.
It’s not what you think. This was basically a “Kepler ate the last Christmas cookie, Galileo never got over it” kind of thing. Sad, really. Scientists can be so cruel.
It all started when Feynman and Schrodinger were pounding some shots at a bar and this blonde pretty-young-thing sidled up to the pair and was all, “What’s up, Dick?” Feynman left the bar with the girl and the bartender commented to Schrodinger, “He’s totally going to bang her,” to which Schrodinger responded, “He is… and he isn’t.” Feynman was later heard yelling mid-coitus, “No uncertainty here, Erwin!”
These two brilliant mathematicians were locked in a lifelong battle to see who could be the most batshit brilliant/insane mind of his time. Erdos did pretty well for himself—regularly taking amphetamines, referring to children as “epsilons” and God as “the Supreme Facist”—but Turing wins the belt for killing himself with a cyanide-laced apple, death by reenactment of his favorite fairy tale, Snow White.
Mendel and Mendeleev had no scientific quibble, but both were known to complain bitterly, “Why won’t he change his fucking name!? No one will ever remember me if that fucker won’t go by something else.”
Though Thompson admitted that the Bohr model of the atom “totes made more sense,” he refused to concede that it was a “tastier” possibility than the Plum Pudding Model.
The dispute between these two (EDIT: it used to say "Italian" here, but now it doesn't thanks to brilliant commenter Anna) neuroscientists arose when Ramon y Cajal used Camillo Golgi’s technique of silver chromate staining to disprove the accepted theory that the nervous system was a reticular meshwork, and instead, that it was made up of discrete cells, later called neurons. Rumor has it that after Cajal and Golgi co-accepted the 1906 Nobel Prize in Medecine, Golgi shoved it in Cajal’s mouth and punched him in the nuts like, five times. “Stain this, motherfucker!” he yelled, presumably in Italian.
Renowned for their discovery of the structure of DNA, these two science-bros spent most of their non-science time competing for the affections of Rosalind Franklin, the biophysicist/hottie who, let’s face it, did most of their work. Their passionate collaborations—both in the lab and in the bedroom—were later adapted into the film, Y tu mama tambien.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Two fictional Michigan towns inserted into a state map by an overzealous UMichigan alum, who happened to chair the State Highway Commission. For some (bullshit) reason, Michigan got mad about this and made him get rid of the towns. They later recanted, when it turned out that the cartographical lobby was just the extra push the Wolverines needed to beat OSU. (That last part is false. It is my own version of a fictional entry.)
9. Trap Streets
Nonexistent or radically misrepresented streets depicted on maps to dissuade copyright infringement... y'know, because map-fraud is a billion-dollar industry. These are all over the UK, in fact, I would hazard a guess that 85% of streets in London are fake. (Also, there's one on a German map that's called "Gallows Pathway". STOP BEING CREEPY, THE GERMANS.)
8. The Stone Louse
A small insect found in Germany that eats stone... almost 30kg a day, apparently. First documented in 1976 on the German television show A Place for Animals. Later on, Germans found HILARIOUS application for their made up bug, when they claimed that it played a huge role in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Y'know, it was bugs that killed Communism, not... um... economics.
7. Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography
The motherlode of fictitious entries. Apparently, some dudes decided to write an encylopedia of famous Americans, and halfway through, they were just like, "Fuck it, let's make up some peeps." Kinda like Wikipedia. OH SNAP YOU KNEW THAT WAS COMING.
6. The words that show up on the white board of my lab
Okay, do you guys remember this list? Of course you do, because you are loyal PaRMLotters. (A thought: Parmloteers?! Like, Mousketeers?! Yeah, maybe?!) Well, the same handwriting has returned. Today, on the same whiteboard, totally unconnected to anything else, were these two words: "orientated" and "bilateralizationism". They're too cleverly wrong to just be the work of some misguided idiot!!! Someone is trying to tell us something.
5. Agloe, New York
A small town in Upstate New York. First documented in the 1930s as a copyright trap, this town then began to show up on Rand McNally and Esso maps, because someone named a general store after it. (Classic example of life imitating the ridiculous.) The town was later popularized by a young adult novel entitled Paper Towns. And let's face it, how many things have really been popularized by young adult novels, aside from angst and finding out that you have a lot left to learn.
A Greco-Roman sport resembling soccer, enjoyed by Roman legions and later revived in 19th century Britain. This sport was documented in the German Encyclopeida of Antiquities, yet another great example of that dry, near-nonexistent German wit. I kid, I kid. Honestly though, if you're going to write a bald-faced lie in a respected (I assume?) publication, why wouldn't you make it huge and ridiculous? Roman soccer? At least give me Mayan hockey, guys.
A Maori word meaning "drum", "fife", or "conclusion". First documented in 1903, in a dictionary of musical terms entitled The Musical Guide. According to the guide, it's pronounced "shaw". Aside from being a potentially bad-ass scrabble play, this word is batshit insane, as is the fact that it was basically accepted for 70 or so years, until someone said, "Hmm, the Maori language doesn't have z's or x's or j's." Not to mention that fact that words don't just mean three totally different things (aside from "smurf")... "Hey, I invented a word that means 'dentist', 'testicle', and 'Gary'!" You know what happened to the guy who said that? He's dead, that's what happened.
Defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as "the willful avoidance of one's official responsibilities". No one would have found this word, had the NOAD not leaked the fact that they put a fake e-word in, presumably because the folks at the NOAD are really, really desperate for attention, since e'rbody knows that the NOAD ain't no OED. Later publicized in this excellent New Yorker piece.
1. Lillian Virginia Mountweazel
The queen mum of all fictitious entries, possibly deserving of her own movie/Pynchon novel. Here's her dossier: born in Bangs, Ohio... worked as a fountain designer and a photographer... best known for her collection of rural American mailboxes entitled "Flags Up!"... died in an explosion while on assignment for Combustibles, a magazine presumably about combustion and combustible items. You cannot make this stuff up, and by that I mean, you cannot make up the fact that someone made up Lillian Virginia Mountweazel and put her in the New Columbia Encyclopedia. The world is too much with us.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
8. Fuzz: The Musical (from Mr. Show)
Mr. Show did a few great musical sketches--in fact, there are a whopping TWO on this list. I think what made them so brilliant was the perfect blend of loving geekiness and mocking derision. These guys have clearly walked the boards a few times before, and you get the sense that they're simultaneously glad to be free from obnoxious musical theater types, but that they still sing songs from Into the Woods in the shower. (BTW, the best part of this clip is far and away David Cross' rendition of "How High the Mountain (Ronnie's Theme)" at about 3:40... if you prefer Patinkin to Cross, check this clip.)
7. Oh, Streetcar! (from The Simpsons)
I mean, come on... "The Kindness of Strangers" re-imagined as a big-budget, kick-line closer. Sign me up, The Simpsons.
6. Lease: The Musical (from Team America: World Police)
Consider yourself skewered, Rent! YOU WERE ASKIN' FOR IT! (Also, I'm sure glad we can all laugh at AIDS now.)
5. Red Ships of Spain (from Saturday Night Live)
Oh my gosh, does anyone remember this? Friggin' Goulet and his two brothers (Parnell and Baldwin)!!! AND I MANAGED TO FIND THE VIDEO!!!
4. Bye, Bye, Greasy (from Home Movies)
I think I have watched this episode of Home Movies more than any other one... thanks, Tom. This Grease/Bye, Bye, Birdie mash-up is a sublime catastrophe. (Coach McGuirk's song, around 4:15 in the video, is probably the highlight.)
3. Springtime for Hitler (from The Producers)
I mean, I can't not mention this. (The original, obviously...)
2. The Joke: The Musical (also from Mr. Show)
This has everything... a salesman selling leather pants in the Ozarks, pre-fame Jack Black as a farmer/devil, some holes in the wall, and best of all, a hated milk machine. This is the perfect end to the best Mr. Show episode EVER. (I CALLED IT JUST NOW.) Also, I love the looks on Bob and David's faces at the end, as the credits roll. They look positively giddy and thrilled... like they can't believe they actually got to pull that shit on National TV.
Part 2 (The Milk Machine Song!):
1. Red, White, and Blaine (from Waiting for Guffman)
Guffman is pretty much a perfect film. There are like, five Oscar-worthy performances in this film. Yes, actually, exactly five. And I think the icing on the cake (or the dressing on the salad?) is the musical itself. It's terrible, to be sure... but impeccably terrible. The songs are more than catchy, they're occasionally beautiful. (For instance, the one in this clip at about 1:00 in.) The whole production--like the town it tributes--is so sad and small, but these performers genuinely care about every note, every line... so even as an outside observer, you care can help but care, too.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Today's list is a guest-list of sorts... friend of the blog Ron Shortsweather decided to drop by and give you all some financial tips. This guy knows what he's talking about; he's the CEO of more than 15 different (and potentially fictional) companies. You may have read about him here or here.
Ol' Ron is a typo-machine, so be aware that this was editted after submission... that being said, it's still basically nonsense.
16. Invent something that everyone suddenly needs
Question: Did the Pilgrims know they needed computers? Answer: Hell no! And if they had, they probably wouldn't have gone extinct. You can be the guy who stands up in the crowded marketplace and says, "Hey there, fellow consumers! I've got just the ticket! It's your once-in-a-lifetime chance to win big on your investment!" Why, just this morning, I was waking up and I thought to myself, "How come the covers don't reach over my feet?" Maybe you can use that for inspiration... just give me a cut o' the profits, won't ya!?
15. Finally write that novel
You've been meaning to finish it for years now, Grandma. Now that Uncle Sam's red-white-and-blue boots have kicked you out on your rump, why don't you buckle down and put pen to paper? Now the whole world can see what a shitty writer you are.
14. Copyright the phrase "In this economy?"
Never mind, I just did it!
13. A street fair!
I love these! You can just walk up and down on a place where there used to be cars, and NO CARS WILL HIT YOU. In fact, people will reward you with food for it! If you really want to win the money-makin' game, you could be the guy who makes that food. Fry it, slap it up, slap it down, sprinkle on a cheese, and you're in business!
Listen, ma'am. It's the 90s. People will pay e-dollars to e-hear your e-opinions. There's a serious niche market for you telling other people what you think!!! The secret of my success is that I have never, ever, ever shut up about my feelings. All of a sudden, one day, everyone just started caring. And they cared with their wallets. Maybe the same will happen to you, Senator Feinstein!
11. Charge your spouse to sleep with you
Here's! The! Thing! What's fun about this idea is that it combines the two most American pursuits: money and sex. You can work out a contract, too... with incentive-based pay and bonuses tied to performance! Just like in the football leagues! Plus, it will be like you are a prostitute, and that will probably liven up your sexual life, which, let's face it, has been hurting since your Depression-related depression.
That's a thing, right?
9. Become a mercenary or bounty hunter
There are plenty of fugitives from justice and truth who are out there just begging to be captured for cold, hard cash. Well, not literally begging--they probably will hate you and resist arrest with guns/knives. But you can still do it! Dress yourself in black, strap on those brass knuckles, and get ready to put your foot in the mouth of a white-collar criminal! Act fast or face the facts: no member down, apartment for share or rent, 5.55% under PAR, and you gotta believe me!
8. Grow a beard for charity
I did this once, and even though nobody paid me jacques-squates, I can totally imagine someone making some serious bank for it! Heckfire, maybe you should just pose as a fake charity--get your head out of your ass, you'd be great at that!!! The Foundation for Exciting (Christian?) Opportunity! Go for it, don't let go, and call me in the morning!
7. A Faustian bargain
Sell your timeshare/soul to me for sack full of dollars! I'll maybe even throw in Ultimate Knowledge, to boot! (Two boots!? You drive a hard bargain, Horatio Sanz...) Just watch out when I come a-callin'. And don't think you can weasel your way out by offering me your daughter's hand. Ew, gross! I'd need at least a shoulder!
6. A return to yesteryear
Remember the days of bootlegging and gunrunning? When men were men and knives were sharp? When the only thing sharper than those knives was the suits they cut holes in? When women were dames and secret words got you into back rooms? When the cops were coppers and the San Diego Chargers were only a possibility? You CAN go back to Narnia. All you have to do to recapture the glory of the last Depression is get a knife, a suit, and an accent! You'll be shot and killed and made into a movie in no time!
5. A street fare!
I love these! This is when you make people pay you for walking, running, or driving in your general direction. The government does it, so why can't you? If you said, "Because I am not the Government!" then that's the FIRST of your problems. The way I made my millions was by convincing myself and my parents that I am, in fact, a government!
4. Get inside this box
Ssh, ssh! Suck it in and tuck it under, don't wake the neighbors! You're now part of the Ron Shortsweather Employee-in-a-Box Overseas Foreign Labor Exchange Program! Don't cry or sass back... those Turks aren't kidding around!
3. Make your dollars work for you
I shouldn't be telling you this, but you're a preferred customer! I have a farm in western Utah where over seventy-thousand dollar bills are currently working in semi-bondage. We grow soybeans, wheatbeans, and plain old American beans! Don't tell me it's slavery, because I ain't listening! When Ron Shortsweather gets an idea, he gives the finger to the law and steals from the poor. And that's a little game I like to call bringing the stock market TO the farmer's market.
2. Have you ever seen Cats?
I SMELL A SEQUEL!!! THE MUSICAL IS BACK!!!
1. Exciting Opportunities!
Listen. You can go to any Big Business Man in town and he'll try to sell you a boat and a goat. I am simply standing in front of you, yelling at you with truth. I want to double your money, triple your self-confidence, and eat whatever's in your fridge. Buy my software and you'll understand. Buy my phonebook and you'll have over a million numbers at your fingertips. Buy my insider tips and you'll be asking yourself, "What is this... heaven?" You can call me overrated, you can call me underweight, JUST DON'T CALL MY WIFE (?) PHYLLIS AND TELL HER WHERE I AM... BECAUSE AIN'T NO LEASH THAT CAN HOLD THIS DOG!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Anyway. Here are five of my favorites.
5. The Maltese Falcon (1942)
Okay, so... I'm going to come right out and explain while Casablanca isn't on this list. I couldn't have two movies featuring the trio of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet. And as much as I love Casablanca, it's not like it needs me to champion it. This is OG film-noir... this is John Huston and Dashiell Hammett at their double-crossing best... this is like, the best MacGuffin of all time. Also, one time, sophomore year of college, I went to see Maltese Falcon at Film Forum with my then-girlfriend and I felt like a guy in a Woody Allen movie. (Y'know, in one of those rare moments when that's like, a good thing.)
4. The Rules of the Game (1939)
This is a nearly perfect film, plain and simple, borrowing the tried-and-true frame of the comedy of manners and transplanting it into the self-absorbed anxiety of pre-WWII France. You might not think that I'm the kind of guy who likes watching wealthy folks running from bedroom to bedroom, tripping over their egos and neuroses, hunting rabbits, and accidentally killing each other. Well, I do. That's actually my favorite genre of drama. I'm not saying that this is the feel-good movie of the year--not in 1939, and certainly not in 2009. That being said, it's still a timeless work of art.
3. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Forget Godfather II or Two Towers. (Although that part in Godfather II where Diane Keaton screams, "It was an ABORTION, Michael!" is on my list of the Top Whatever Most Intense/Most Unintentionally Funny Moments ever.) THIS is the greatest sequel ever made. It has a) Frankenstein's Monster learning to talk and smoke, b) more Colin Clive running around and screaming, c) a crazy new scientist named Dr. Pretorious, d) Dr. Pretorious' tiny people that he keeps in glass jars, e) an old blind man who plays the violin and becomes BFF with The Monster, f) TONS of thinly-veiled homosexual themes, g) certified Hottie-McHotterson Elsa Lanchester as The Bride, and h) the truest line ever spoken: "Alone, bad... friend, good!" This movie has something for everybody.
2. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
When I was a kid, I had a few trusty VHS tapes that I returned to over and over again. Dr. Doolittle, The Monster Squad, Star Wars--these were the stand-bys. But nothing can compare to The Adventures of Robin Hood, or as a five-year old me dubbed it, "The Flynn Robin Hood", on account of its star, Ol' Swashbuckles himself, Errol Flynn. This is the Robin Hood film... from Flynn tossing that poached deer's carcass onto Prince John's banquet table to the split arrow in the archery contest to the greatest swordfight in cinema history to that goofy-ass grin on Flynn's face when King Richard tells him to go marry Maid Marian. "May I obey all your commands with equal pleasure, sire!" he snarks... oh, Robin Hood, you rascal. You're going to go sleep with Olivia de Havilland, aren't you! Well, as long as the king says it's okay... (Also, the score by Erich Korngold is probably the first truly great film score.)
1. The Third Man (1949)
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love The Third Man. It's a commentary on morality, on friendship, on foreign-ness, on heroism. It's a case study on how to imbue a film with atmosphere. It showcases some of the finest dialogue spoken by some of the finest actors in film history. (Best line: "I'm just a hack writer who drinks too much and falls in love with girls.") And, oh-by-the-way, speaking of amazing film scores... Anton Karas and his friggin' zither. "What if we made a film noir that was entirely accompanied by zither music?" "Oh, I bet that'd be the best movie ever?" "Do ya?" "I sure do!" And that last shot... Alida Valli walking past Joseph Cotten--later paid homage to in The Departed--absolutely chilling. Yeah, I'm totally going to end up watching this tonight... oh well, luckily, I love it.