Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Little Things: The Colbert/Steele Rap Off

Oh snap! This is the hottest, phattest, dopest (these are terms right?) rap battle I’ve seen since VH1’s White Rapper Show.

For months, TV’s Stephen Colbert has been challenging Republican National Committe Chairman Michael Steele to an urban, suburban, hip hop styled throw down.

Colbert starts spittin’ (as I’m told it is called) and devastates the RNC Chairman, but Steelez got skillz of hiz own. Wait for it, his disses slam Colbert.

I can’t believe the battle. Most awesome freestyling evaa!!

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TREKtrospective! The Conclusion

In it’s continuing mission, the Starship Enterprise has journeyed through three successful films, battling confused plots, long winded villains, and even dueled with the Klingon menace. When we last left our intrepid heroes, they were on the planet Vulcan. Spock was back, Kirk’s son was dead, Bonesy was cracking wise ass remarks and the Federation of Planets was wholly pissed at the crew in general. So let’s continue with our Trektrospective!

I originally was going to review all the Next Generation movies as well, but you know what? They just aren’t that interesting. I never really followed or loved the Next Gen crew like the original. This Trektrospective, therefore, is only covering the original crew up through Generations, the seventh film. But let’s hop to it, a lot of Space to cover in one post.

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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)/ aka “Double Dumbass on You!”

As the crew of the Enterprise is returning home from Vulcan, they hear of a dire situation on Earth. A giant phallic probe has taken up residence in Earth’s orbit and is destroying the planet. It seems the probe is attempting to contact someone, but the humans can’t figure it out. So the probe is vaporizing the Earth’s water, killing the power, and dooming the planet. Kirk and the crew, aboard their captured Klingon Bird of Prey, figures out that the probe is trying to call whales. Whales? All right I’ll go with it. Too bad the whales, Humpbacks specifically, are extinct in the 23rd-and a half-Century! Well, that seems much more plausible.

The crew decides that the only thing they can do is time warp and get some whales, bring them back and save the world. Simple enough. It should be noted that the crew figures all this out in about five minutes, while the rest of humanity is just dumbfounded. No one else thought of this, just Kirk and the gang. Fine. Let’s get on with it. They time warp by sling-shooting (is that a word?) around the sun(?) and come out the other side in present day, mid eighties San Francisco. As you can see, a lot of question marks to start this one off.

From here we get a hilarious fish out of water comedy of errors. The Bird of Prey, cloaked mind you, lands in Golden Gate park and the crew walks around town looking for whales, a container for said whales, and nuclear “wessels” as Chekov amusingly puts it. What a silly Russian accent, wessels! Kirk meets and seduces a lady scientists who has a couple of whales. Spock, confused and still a little loopy from the whole dying and resurrecting thing, makes a series of funny comments, and the rest of the crew basically bumble around like retards (movie’s word, not mine) for an hour and a half. Scotty tries talking to a computer, Bonesy compares 20th century medicine to the “damned Spanish Inquisition” and Sulu sweet talks a helicopter pilot.

They get the whales, go home, day is saved. They have some laughs, share some memories, and generally bemoan our present day environmental muck up. It’s a movie with a message: stop hunting whales!

People loved this film. It’s widely considered the favorite of the bunch, and probably the most watched entry in the series. I assume folks just love seeing the crew in a present day, accessible setting, fretting over things like money, and swearing.  Just watch!

The best part of the last clip is that they actually went on the street, filmed from a van and just went for it. Those are actual people and cops staring at them. Nice.

So once they return the whales to the 23rd Century, the whales say hello to the probe. The probe says hi, and leaves. End of movie. Plus Kirk and the gang are dismissed of all charges, Kirk is reduced to Captain (which he actually likes) and they get a new Enterprise. Yay!

This is a very good film, a bit on the sappy side, but overall pretty consistent to the characters and the overall tone of the Star Trek universe. Thumbs up!

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)/ aka “The Hated One”

So after the success of Voyage Home, the crew returned with another film. This one is widely considered the loser of the bunch, though it has some redeeming stuff. Really though,  it kind of stinks. It messes with too many beloved aspects of the franchise as a whole and just doesn’t fit well in the film canon. After the last three films, which were interconnected, this one comes out of nowhere and caught a lot of fans off guard with its theological implications, introduction of new familial characters, and hints at unwarranted relationships. Plus, it makes NO FREAKIN’ SENSE!

So we start with Kirk, Spock   on Vacation at Yosemite. Kirk is, get this, free climbing El Capitan! What? I mean, I know the guy is a danger junkie, but he’s not even wearing boots or anything, he’s doing it in his fucking uniform even. So of course he falls and Spock rescues him with the help of jet powered boots. Let’s move on. They get the call that there is a hostage situation in some region of some galaxy. It’s all kind of the same now, so I’ll skip the titles. They find that Spock’s previously unknown half brother, Sybock (what a clever name!) has the hostages and exchanges them for the Enterprise. Meanwhile, a young Klingon is following the Starship, bent on killing Kirk to boost his own status. Not very honorable, since he’s gone rogue, against Klingon wishes to do this.

So Sybock, though he is ALL VULCAN, is emotionally, not logically driven. Fascinating. His character goes against every facet of his race. Why? Who cares!

He forces the crew to go beyond the Great Barrier, a region of unexplored space, to find a God like entity that he has mentally encountered. Why is the this area of space unexplored? Who cares!

The crew get there only to discover that the entity is not God, as we had hoped, but a, get this, manifestation of Sybock’s arrogance(?) seeking to escape the Barrier. What? A manifestation of Sybok, located on an uninhabited planet at the edge of the Universe, who can’t leave but can convince Sybok (himself?) to come and get it. What the fuck is going on here?

Maybe this explains the backlash given to the film by fans and critics. While we were willing to suspend disbelief on about every aspect of the show and the films, this just goes too far. Maybe time warp is impossible, but we’ll go with it. A masquerading arrogance manifestation dressed up like God? Fuck you. I don’t buy it. No one bought it in fact.

Even the part with the Klingon is bullshit. He is about to kill Kirk when he is convinced by the higher ups to rescue him instead. The Klingon kills the manifested-alien-entity-whatever-the-fuck-it’s-supposed-to-be and we end with a peaceful celebration. Lame!

It should be noted that Shatner himself directed this. And I put no blame on him. The man, frankly, can do no wrong. But the overall tone and story in this one just misses. It almost killed the franchise, until . . .

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)/ aka “Yet Another Star Trek Movie (small yawn)”

Yea, yea, it’s getting a little tedious for me too, that’s why I’m skipping the Next Gen stuff. I’m getting a bit burnt out on the Trek. So let’s just get though this last little bit. The Klingons have less than 50 years to live. They want to make peace with the Federation. While visiting with Kirk and the Enterprise the Klingon ambassador is assassinated on his own ship after the Enterprise apparently fires on it. Kirk and Bonesy go to the ship to help, but get arrested. They are convicted of the crimes and go to a prison asteroid place where they are forced into hard labor. Spock and the gang try to figure it all out before it’s too late and blah blah blah.

I actually like ths one alot, it’s just got one of those plots you really have to see to appreciate. It’s half espionage and intrigue, half detective story. We discover massive conspiracies and it all ends well.

This was the last film to feature all the oiginal characters from the show. They literally sign off at the end of the film, so it’s a little bittersweet. There are a bunch of great scenes that pay tribute to the older Star Trek stuff, and this has overall one of the better and most believable plots in the series. Let’s just point out a few great aspects.

1) Kim Cattrell as a Vulcan. Before Sex and the City, this little cougar donned the pointys a la Kristie Alley and gives a perfectly void performance as the mysterious Valeris

Highly Illogical

Highly Illogical

2) Christopher Plummer as Chang. This is inspired casting. I read that Plummer was skeptical of doing it, and asked for less severe Klingon makeup. But there’s nothing less severe about his over the top performance as the evil Chang, a warrior witout a war, desperate to keep the violence alive.

3) Shakespeare References. This has always been a qualty of the show and film series, but this one really outdoes itself. Even the title is a line from Hamlet, although instead of death, this undiscovered Country is peace. Whereas Wrath of Khan was like a Moby Dick story, this one is all tragedy. Even Chang’s final words are the most quotable quotes from the bard.

4) Captain Kirk. Who is the man? Kirk! This movie really captures his essence, from his charm and wit, to his courage and leadership, to his deepest fears and mournings. We revisit his grief over his lost son, see him fight in that classic hand to hand Trek style with aliens on the asteroid prison, and seduce the shapeshifter (although that was really a set up). Kirk is the man, and with Bonesy by his side, it makes for one of the better subplots in the series.

And now here is the ending, also one of the best in the series, a true send off and final farewell.

sniff, sniff, excuse me. I have something in my eye.

Epilogue: Star Trek Generations (1994)

A quick note. This film is the last with any of the original crew. Chekov, Scotty, and Kirk make brief appearances. Kirk is stuck in something called the Nexus, a realm where time has no meaning. He is met there by Captain Jen Luc Picard, Next Gen’s leader. Picard is also stuck in this Nexus after an unsuccessful attempt at stopping an evil scientist from blowing up a star to himself join with the Nexus. There are so many holes and so much wrong with the plot I can’t even begin. Suffice to say that this one induces more eye rolls and sighs than all the others put together. Picard convinces Kirk that he is, in fact, trapped in this Nexus, to which Kirk responds with “who cares!”

Then Kirk changes his mind in a minute or two, wanting to again make a difference by saving the star system. They return to the evil sientist and stop his plan, but *Spoiler* Kirk dies. A heartbreaking scene, delivered fantastically by Shatner, who basically leaves Patrick Stewart, a Shakespearian actor himself, in the dust. This movie tried to introduce us to various characters from Next Gen, but it’s too crowded with subplots that go NOWHERE and characters I don’t give two shits about. Besides Kirk’s brief part, this is a down hill log jam of a movie. Best to Youtbue Kirk’s scenes and skip the rest. Unless the idiotic characters of Next Gen appeal to you. You nerd.

Obligatory rant time:

I just love how Next Gen’s crew are such a bunch of slackers. They spend their time either in the playroom of the Holodeck, playing dress up and pretend, or guzzling down Romulan Ale in the bar. A bar on a Starship? Please. Not to mention that there is apparently a school and a host of families on board. When did the Enterprise turn into a goddamn kindy-garten?

Then the crew acts about as incompetent as all Hell, letting mild mannered scientist guy get one over on them, losing control of their emotions, being outwitted by Klingons (guess that peace treaty business in VI didn’t last too long if they’re still at each others throat), and generally fucking up their own ship. The Enterprise gets totaled in their first movie? It took at least three films for the original to go down, and that was only to save the day. Fucking amateurs. Double Dumbass on them. If Kirk had seen any of that shit, he’d a lost his mind.

So that’s’ it. Star Trek is one of the longest running and most involved franchises around, thanks in part to some good films and great times. Live long and prosper.

So glad that’s over with.

-Charlie

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Dollhouse: The Stupidest Show on TV?

Someone really needs to help me out here. I am lost on this one. I heard there was going to be a new show on FOX by Joss Whedon. This is the guy behind popular tween/ lonely geek fare like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel,  Firefly and it’s film Serenity. These franchises have amassed dedicated followings among several fan groups, so the guy really knows how to milk a good thing. Problem is, all of those shows are TERRIBLE!

Stop right there if you are a Buffy fan or think Whedon is some kind of vamp/space nerd genius. He’s not. So just quit reading before I destroy your little happy place.

Mr. and Mrs. Whedon surprise little Jossy on the set!

Mr. and Mrs. Whedon surprise little Jossy on the set!

Buffy was first a movie, written by Whedon, about a valley girl vampire hunter and the suburban vampires she killed. It was a comedy, not to be taken with an ounce salt, but with a pound. It was like a supernatural Clueless. It even had Luke Perry for God’s sake. Luke Perry!

So Whedon’s all, “Hey, some people didn’t completely hate this crap. I should turn this into a series.” And he did, but he turned it into a darker, scarier, sexier affair. They threw in lame pop culture references and silly little Seth Green for some laughs, but it all fell flat. Besides being a girly show airing mostly in my high school years, it just didn’t appeal to my inner nerd. I kinda liked the movie, but Whedon’s short reaching “creativity” couldn’t hold out for six years plus.

So what does he do to keep it interesting? Angel, a spin off series which was a spin off of a movie he wrote. Whedon’s constant outside the box approach to cashing in really astounds me. Where did he find the courage to write the same story again?

And now a quick word on Firefly. I watched a few episodes, in order even, and you know what? I don’t care. It’s got a lot of fast talk and quick cuts, but I don’t see an ounce of originality. The one thing I heard most about this show was it was a “western in space” and how that was such a cool twist on the genre. To which I ask: What was Star Wars if not a western, samurai, swashbuckler in space? What’s any good science fiction if not a very relatable take on familiar tales-in space? Whedon’s nerd cred soared over this hash, but I call shenanigans on his brilliance.

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So let’s get into Dollhouse. This review will focus on one episode in particular, but this goes for the whole thing. The episode is Man On The Street. At this point I’ll sum up the story and you can tell me if this sounds like a good idea. In a secret house somewhere, a group of supermodels are brainwashed and wiped of memory and emotion, by a group of shadowy figures who then implant new identities into the supermodels and hire them out. The models can Matrix style learn anything (including muscle memory? Is that even in the brain?) and be anybody, except themselves. Oohh, shivers.

But really, the models are hired out as sex slaves. Sometimes they’re assassins, but mostly it’s for doing the nasty with billionaires.  Then they go home, have everything wiped clean and start over.

Each Doll, as they’re affectionately called, has a handler. A man handler if you will. They act as the personal bodyguards/pimps for the Dolls. They make sure the ladies do as they’re told with little to no independent thought or emotion. Umm. Where’s all the dude Dolls? I see them in the background, walking around all dopey eyed and innocent, but apparently the market for dude Dolls in LA isn’t anywhere near the market for lady Dolls. The handlers are vile actors in this stupendously silly plot, as they blindly aid in the abuse and exploitation of the hotties. Though so far they’ve only been villanized when they try to rape the Dolls themselves. Otherwise, it’s just par for the course. Maybe they thought the inclusion of a madame boss character would subdue the sexist overtones, but she comes off as helpless to change her station as any of the dolls.

There’s an FBI agent on the case, trying to find out if this is real and bring it down. He is pretty much on his own as he can’t seem to act well enough to convince anyone else he’s not a complete douche bag.  He falls for one of Dolls, and things get personal. He lives out his own rescue fantasy while berating others for their depraved sex fantasies. Issues abound, but not for the super Dolls. They’re as empty as the emotional impact of this show.

Eliza Dushku out-mannequins the mannequins. Acting!!

Eliza Dushku out-mannequins the mannequins. Acting!!

In this episode, FBI guy tracks down his fantasy Doll to a house, where she has been programmed to be the wife to comedian Patton Oswalt. Well, he’s playing a character, but c’mon. It’s Patton freakin’ Oswalt.

Random Patton Oswalt video:

And the best part is, he acts the shit out of his scene. He seriously out acts and completely buries the FBI guy in the scene. It’s awesome. Easily the highlight of the show.

By the way, this FBI guy is the worst Federal Agent ever. He goes against the system. He’s a lone wolf. He’s obsessed with a potentially supernatural and highly conspired event that could rock the world. I miss Fox Mulder.

This agent also knows kung fu, as he beats down man and woman alike with ferocious attitude. At one point he’s kicking the shit out of his fantasy Doll as they spar (in a deserted Chinese restaurant, even though he just ordered food) with zero conflict in his eyes, it’s like the actor went into kill mode, Oh my God. . . He’s a doll!!

Naw, he’s just your average ass kicking Fed who tells everything about his plan to his hot neighbor, while he walks around shirtless? I know this guy is supposed to be bad ass and all, but really? He walks around shirtless in front of company? What a douche!

Ok. The real problem I have with this show is not the FBI agent. Or the ridiculous plot. It’s the sexism. Plain as day and sick as a dog, the stereotypes and prejudices are so rampant that the show is rendered laughable. I laughed out loud several times from the sheer stupidity of the characters and the blatant woman bashing that goes on.

There is a difference between the kind of social critique of a film like The Stepford Wives (the original mind you) and the misogynistic foolery of this show. We are not meant to feel pity, not completely, for the dolls. Some people on the show surely berate it as the human trafficking, but mostly the show gives a much more “How cool would that be?” attitude.

But really, even other women in the show are total drones. The neighbor, who gives into the FBI guy’s charms, blissfully says things like, “You can tell me this was all a mistake and I’ll be alright with it.”

But here’s the twist! She’s a Doll too! Wow. Top notch writing. Let’s just make every girl in the whole city a drone capable of nothing but fighting and fucking with zero consequences and motivation. Watch out FBI guy! You’re surrounded by Dolls. Well, it is LA after all. I shouldn’t act so surprised.

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What it comes down to is this: Instead of a smart show about the turmoil and depravity in people or the disease that is the current day slave trade, we get ass kicking, cleavage exposing, wooden acting, and sloppy writing. Face it Whedon, this show is your worst. I’d start seriously thinking of a new spin off for Buffy. It’s come to that.

The fact that the Whedonites out there started campaigning to save the show from cancellation BEFORE it even aired tells me that these blind followers of the Joss are as disconnected to the real world as his characters.

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I suppose those Whedonites are still standing behind their man. No matter how many times he slaps them in the face with his shit, they’ll keep on coming back for more. It’s classic battered fan syndrome. Thankfully, there is help out there. If you or someone you know is suffering from battered fan syndrome please visit this now. It may be your last chance.

-Charlie

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TREKtrospective!

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“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Star Trek is one of the most beloved sci-fi series in television history. It had all the classic elements of fantasy, with strong heroes and despised villains. It dared to bring about a future with a real Utopian society that valued knowledge and understanding above wealth and greed. And at the heart of this hopeful future stood Captain James Tiberius Kirk and his crew, and the rest is nerd history.

The series and subsequent Next Gen sequels are nostalgic treasures to millions of fans worldwide who still don the yellow uniforms and pack phasers on stun. Anyone doubting the devotion of this franchise need look no further than the much anticipated prequel coming out this May. Here’s a trailer. I can’t wait.

“Enlist in Star Fleet.” That’s gotta be a t-shirt somewhere.

This will actually be the 11th Star trek film released. Paramount has been big screening Star Trek for 30 years. Let’s look back at the films that helped define a generation of nerds, myself included.

It’s my own little TREKtrospective.

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This first part of the Trektrospective will cover the first three films in the canon.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)/aka “Look at the pretty colors!”

This is the first film in the series. Some have called this franchise the most successful film series in history. Well it wasn’t really an overnight success. This intro was given mixed reviews, but ultimately paved the way for the next films in the series, none of which would be anything like this one.

The film is slowly plotted and slowly executed. There is a threat to Earth called VGER, Kirk and crew seek out and face this threat, world is saved. But it is in the delivery that this film exists.

Captain James T. Kirk is now Admiral. He helms the Enterprise to investigate this threatening menace alien cloud. This angers the actual Captain of the ship, Decker. But who cares?

kirk-portraitWilliam Shatner is James Kirk. I don’t mean he plays him, motherfucker is Kirk. It’s that simple. At some point the actor Shatner left and was replaced by Kirk. He truly embodies everything about that character.

(If anything this is the new film’s greatest challenge. How do we like a Kirk that isn’t Shatner? )

spock-portraitThe other original cast members are here too, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, the half Vulcan half Human hybrid (if this was X-Files), DeForest Kelley as cranky old Dr. Bonsey “Dammit Jim” Bones, James Doohan, George Takei, and the rest.

By this time, the characters had been part of a popular TV series – and Animated Series that everyone apparently never heard of or wiped clean from memory. But it’s real. Don’t try bones-portraitto deny it.

These characters were already pretty well known, so they got a limited introduction before the film blasted off! Boldly going where no film has gone before, a two hour sci-fi philosophy art house head scratcher with a few mild surprises and more than a few long pauses. Long. Really long pauses. Long.

So it turns out this menace known as VGER is actually our own Satellite, Voyager. It’s back! After all these years out “collecting information and bringing it back to the creator” story. I thought you didn’t care. You look so different Voyager. What happened? Aliens? What did they do to you? What did they do? Ohh! He’s a monster! A monster!

The film asks us, the audience, really depressing questions like, what happens when we die? Is this all there is to life? What’s the deal with the bald chick who might be a robot?startrektmp_00

To make up for this, the movie throws a bunch of pretty colors at us, as the Enterprise takes about twenty minutes to approach VGER and the thing just gets bigger and bigger and, um, well bigger. It is pretty, but the special effects look tame today so it doesn’t hold up as well. Overall, kinda dull, kind of good. Not bad, not great. Don’t worry, it gets better.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)/aka “He who acts last, acts best”

I think the trailer perfectly sums up the important parts of this film’s plot.

Now Khan is pissed and takes out his revenge on an unsuspecting Enterprise. Khan is also trying to attain the Genesis device, which can create life from lifeless planets, but would render a life filled planet lifeless. Whoa.

Ricardo Montalban is the villainous Khan, Hell bent on revenge against Kirk, the man who exiled him to a barren planet which killed his wife. It’s Shakespeare if you think about it. And this movie comes down to a three way act-off. It’s actually quite brilliant and this movie is one of the most fun to watch in the whole series. Montalban really spars with Shatner throughout the film with his sly hiss and over the top deliveries. It’s line for line right to the end. Here’s some of the best.

“He tasks me and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!”-Khan

“Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.”- Kirk

“Romulan Ale. Why, Bones, you know this is illegal.”-Kirk
“I only use it for medicinal purposes.”-Bonesy.

I like Bonesy. He’s a good time.

Shatner is most remembered with his “Khan!” heard around the galaxy. And then out of nowhere Nimoy steals the show with perhaps the saddest death in modern movie history! Seriously, Bambi’s mom has nothing on Spock.

And then there’s Khan’s immortal “From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee!” line and Kirk’s eulogy to his fallen friend. Oh it’s just so sad! So many great lines and moments. Action! Intrigue! Melville references! This one has it all. This is the film that truly launched the Star Trek series. I won’t go on too long with praise. Just see it.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984)/aka “Leonard Nimoy directs himself back to life”

So the last movie ended on a real “Empire Strikes Back” style downer, Spock dies, his casket gets blasted to the planet that was created by the Genesis project, Kirk is sad, the crew is ragged, the ship is damaged, and now Bonesy is acting all crazy. Back on Earth, Spock’s father gets angry about Spock’s body being abandoned and he and Kirk discover that Bones is possessing Spock’s soul, his Katra.

They go back to the Genesis planet where Spock’s body has been reborn! But he has no soul, so he is Spock in body only. Think about that. He meets up with David Marcus the creator of the Genesis planet and Kirk’s kid no less, and Lt. Saavik, a vulcan from the planet Cheers. Spock was reborn as a part of Genesis’ power and he’s growing at a conveniently fast rate, just in time to get it in under two hours.  So the crew gets together and basically steals the starship to search for Spock as it says, and (spoiler alert) they find him.

Unfortunately so does a Klingon, played by . . .Christopher Lloyd? Whaaa? I can’t figure out if that’s cool or not. Look for yourself. star-trek-lloyd-as-klingon

Great Scot, he’s horrid. I mean, he has looked bad before, but. . .

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GAAA!!! What an ugly man. The makeup wizards in these must have had a field day with him.

So this Klingon Kruge, as he goes by, is a real bad dude. He’s no Khan(who wasn’t a Klingon btw), but he does the job real well. Kruge possess all the warrior bloodlust and honor of the Klingon race, a great character. He kills off crew members as punishment, he goes in for hand to hand combat, he’ll die before he surrenders.

The real shock of this one is not in Spock, since we could probably figure that out in the title, but in Kirk Jr’s (David’s) fate. David was introduced only last movie, we hardly got to know him, and then-tragedy. Kruuuuge!

This movie has some great scenes, the Enterprise’s self destructive farewell, Kirk and Kruge’s final battle, and the final ritual at the end to join Spock’s katra to his body. And Bonesy’s alright. Yay! I like Bonesy. He’s fun.

The series almost wrote itself into a wall in this one. It looked like, with the Enterprise gone, the crew’s advancing age, and Kirks’ shattering loss, there might not be anywhere left to go. But then the series took one of it’s most beloved turns yet, time travel. Next time on the Trektrospective, The Voyage Home.

For now, Animated Series!!

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Potty Humor

Ever wonder why scientists have yet to cure cancer? Or save the spotted gecko? Or figure out this whole global warming thing already? Well, maybe it’s because our brightest minds are usually too busy coming up with new and innovative solutions to mankind’s most daunting, most desperate foe. Our bladders.

 First off, the bladder is mankind’s most dubious, spontaneous, malicious of areas. Without warning the bladder can and will try to destroy a perfectly good car ride, movie, concert, or even golf match. Well now it’s the bladder who’s been matched by the inventive power of mankind’s most wasted of areas. The brain.

There is an actual condition around called urinary incontinence. Apparently thre are several strains of incontinenece. Something to look forward to.

Well, this is a very real and very gross problem facing many of us. (Not me though. Yikes.) So what to do? Why don’t you just swallow something-hows about this?

But really, we all know that a pill is a ridiculously meager and wimpy way to face this monstrous threat. We need more, more, more! C’mon scientists. Is that the best you got?

Alright. Now we’re getting somewhere here. Yea, let’s take a look. Up your own dick!

Jesus H, that was vivid towards the end. I loved the “well lubricated” prefix to the description of the, um, instrument of insertion. Why why why would you willingly become a urologist? Anything but that. It’s like the uncool version of the gynecologist.

What?

Besides medical science, there has to be more  brilliant minds figuring this out right? For example, I wonder how we ever existed on this Earth before the toilet. It is still, after all these years, the staple by which categorize someone a hillbilly or not in this country. In America, we have some of the most advanced technology driven entirely by the toilet. But some countries are doing us one better.

Come to think of it, these toilets are from Japan and Germany! My God! 

water-war-prop

You can’t fool me! I will NEVER flush again. It’s the patriotic thing to do.

But really we are in a drought in most of the country. What could we do to save on water in the meantime?

It’s like an outhouse in your house. Lovely.

But besides all this exciting toilet invention business, what else is there? Well, sometimes people get so caught up in their own bladder and toilet issues, they forget about the litle guys out there. Our pets. They suffer as much as anyone else. Why, even cats and dogs can have over active cat and dog bladders. Here’s a  well thought out and rational solution for our feline friends that keeps the scooper away. No fuss, no muss.

Animal rights activists are now satisfied, but there’s always one group out there who’s never happy. Women. (Pause for booing coming in around the world) Now those feminists are standing proud and strong. While they pee.

But thats’ crazy you say. A one in a million product. No one else on Earth would ever think of something so ludicrous. And then you see this.

Or this. This one is the best (re: worst)

Ok. That’s it. I don’t care what problems you have, how bad you gotta go, what form of equality you feel you deserve. This wrong. This is unnatural. My oh my. What kind of world do we live in?

I need to get off this subject. It’s too much. Too deep, too complicated for one man. We need, as one world and one voice, to do something better about our ickiness than this. Maybe what we need is a “go anywhere, do anything” kind of attitude. I say let it run free. If other people don’t like it, well that’s their problem, Jack.  It’s a free country. Yea, why not? Let’s recommune with nature. Or at least a small plastic resevoir in the midst of nature. Hence, I bring you The Uro Club.

Take that, over active menace! At last we have outwitted you once and for all. Just don’t ask for the nine iron.

-Charlie

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The Little Things: Kids On Drugs

It looks like the war on drugs has a new enemy-Dentists! I knew it all along. Won’t somebody please think of the children?

This video is basically the most popular thing on the Internet right now, so I’m jumping on that bandwagon and posting it too! Yay!

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Real Live Music: Noise Pop 2009

Well, I just got back from a week of Noise Pop in San Francisco and boy are my hips tired. These last few days have been a whirlwind of crazy shows, packed venues, expensive beers and old friends. I have been going to Noise Pop shows for half a decade, not a very long time in the festival’s 17 year legacy, but I can safely say this was the craziest year I have seen. Insane. The city is so much more alive and moving than I remember. The people all have an extra shot of crack in the morning and an extra shot of whiskey at night. Outright lunacy. Here is a brief rundown of my week.

Tuesday: Annie and I drive down to SF from our home base in Sonoma County, the collective hometown of our youth. We meet the folks at the Noise Pop offices and grab some badges. Annie and I both worked for these guys this year, so the festival is like a week long paycheck. We also have accommodations at the beautiful Mosser Hotel in the downtown financial district .The hotel is quaint and the staff was friendly enough and most importantly stay the Hell out of our room all week. Privacy at its best.

The show of the night is Deerhunter, who open the festival at the free party located just blocks from our room at the Mezzanine. Usually I am scared of this venue, both because of its surroundings and its history. I have heard some bloody tales. But the club is packed and the spirits high. High priced too. Six bucks for a bud. What a country.

Deerhunter comes out shrouded in fog and the Boss’s “Dancing in the Dark” as introduction. Then they play a blisteringly loud and intense set filled with tunes old and new that really show off their live sound. A blend of post punk and shoegaze set to a poppy tempo, the band is pretty rad live. Noise Pop went ahead and filmed some of these so I could embed them here. Aren’t they sweet?

Wednesday: We first take the train to the Swedish American Hall, upstairs from Cafe Du Nord. We have come to see Papercuts, the act fronted by local songwriter Jason Quever. He makes ambient indie pop that is at once eerie and melodic, with a high flasetto and hypnotic hooks. Annie and I both love this band. They are actually opening for Mountain Goats, but we head over to see Stephen Malkmus instead. We saw the Goats last year, and seeing Malkmus live has always been a top priority.

There we meet up with our friends Eric and Rachel and had a grand old time. This show, at the Great American, is actually a solo venture for Malkmus, who comes out alone with a guitar. He proceeds to engross the crowd in stripped down renditions of his older Pavemnet material (Range Life) and newer solo stuff (Real Emotional Trash). He is great to see, really capturing the audience, who had been callously talking through every opener, and some tunes are like a sing along, they’re so popular. Got to see Malkmus again soon.

Thursday: To the Bottom of the Hill and the instrumental force that is From Monument to Masses. There we meet up with more friends and proceed to rock our heads in a steady and determined fashion. FMTM is a really tight, really full three piece, playing epic rock with decidedly politcial undertones and sampling. I am lucky enough to grab a barstool at the back and sit for the end, as the crowd gets pretty swollen throughout the show.

That’s really the only problem with this festival, too many people go to it. The venues sell out, plus another several hundred badge holders, sponsers, staff, and friends of friends on guest lists. Almost every show I went to was a fire hazard waiting to happen, over crowded and sweltering from the heat of the tiny rooms. And I know there is really nothing I can do about it, it just kinda stinks for the people who are really into these bands and the bands themselves. They are playing to industry people more concerned with talking over the music than enjoying it. Oh well (shrug shoulders)

Friday: This is Ra Ra Riot at the Independent. Again crowded and hot, Annie and I take refuge in the VIP upstairs area. We are VIPs afterall. Its our duty to uphold all that is VIP. We promptly forget our friends among the surfs, peons and peasants below. They are lost to their own fate. But we-we rise up to that higher plateu to claim our place as the very important people.

Oh yea. . .Ra Ra Riot was actually pretty good. See for yourself.

Saturday: By this time I am getting a little burnt out from all this Noise Pop. It’s a hard thing to do. Going out every night. I’m tired. We try to go to the Pop ‘n Shop at the Verdi Club. This is where all the crafts are. You walk around and look at them and buy some. Yet again, the venue is too small for the crowd and we can’t even get through. Ten minutes later we are cruising the Mission, buying laserdiscs and perusing cacti. Much better.

We see the debut of Clues, a project fronted by one of the guys who was in the Unicorns. I didn’t really do my homework on them. I think they’re from Canada. The show is a quick train ride down to the Rickshaw Stop. Loch Lomond, from Portland(!), open with others and were decent enough, though this is the night where the inattentive crowds actually ruin the show. Rickshaw doesn’t really have a sound system like most clubs. The music is actually drowned out by the sound of the screaming masses, half of whom seemed to have snuck in by the looks of the over stressed security staff. It’s madness. We stay for Clues, but leave early to catch the train. They sound good, but I’d like to hear them again without the competing conversations.

Sunday: This was the one. Les Savy Fav at the Mezzanine. This was the set of the festival. If you are not familiar with Les Savy Fav, check them out here. I will just say that everything you hear about lead singer Tim Harrington’s antics is true.

He comes out wrapped like a Mummy, pours a beer on the crowd, gets felt up by stage crashers and divers, slides down a handrail, roams the crowds and crawls back up on the stage. The music is tight, the crowd is wild, the atmosphere is electric. Maybe one of the best shows I have seen in years. They play all our favorite songs, give us all our money’s worth, leave us all wanting more. Long live Les Savy Fav.

I will also post a video of that set if Noise Pop does. You have to see it to believe it.

So that was it. Oh yea. Our car’s window got smashed on the last night of the week. Almost made it through SF unscathed. A bunch of a Savages in this town.

I’ll be back to movies and comics soon, but music has been my life this last week. Not such a bad thing. Not at all. Thanks to Noise Pop for making me feel special. And thanks to San Francsisco for reminding me I’m not.

-Charlie

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