Tuesday, January 31, 2006

my fives

five places i've vacationed to:
- lake geneva, wi
- big sur, ca
- new york, ny
- disneyworld, fl (i think there's a city there, too)
- paris, france

five movies i can watch over and over again:
- flirting with disaster
- real genius
- back to the future
- the royal tennenbaums
- top gun

five jobs and places i've worked:
- robinson's-may (stock professional)
- silver cinemas (concessions expert)
- mt. carmel high school (tutor and role model)
- usc (ta and role model (college edition))
- law firm (file master)

five websites i visit daily:
- the superficial
- cnn
- myspace
- blogs blogs blogs
- pitchfork

five things i've learned today:
- hand-claps in a rock song walk a fine line between Cool and Lame
- Coachella Festival line-up. despite the appearances of Wolf Parade, TV on the Radio, Sleater-Kinney, Clap Your Hands, et. al., I will not be attending for fear of melting. the ridiculous ticket price and massive crowds don't help, either.
- even when there are coupons involved, papa john's is not good
- muso's cd-release show is confirmed for 3/31
- i'm goin' to disneyland next wednesday

five reasons i stayed up too late lately:
- geraldo. 11pm. 'nuff said.
- writing
- arrested development seasons 1 and 2
- being too lazy to move from couch to bed
- making a gigando mix on marah's ipod

five songs that will make me stop scanning the radio:
- "the final countdown", europe
- "bust a move", young mc
- "on a plane", nirvana
- "don't stop believin", journey
- "close to me", the cure

five favorite songs to karaoke:
- "danger zone", kenny loggins
- "get out of my dreams and into my car", billy ocean
- "nothin's gonna stop us" (from mannequin), starship (an amazing duet)
- "here i go again", whitesnake
- "say you, say me", lionel ritchie

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Originally, my last post was about how one of the attorneys at work snapped at me for not fetching his bottled water fast enough. But that seemed too self-pitying, so I shortened my rant. In any case, I apologize for my last post. I didn't mean to hurt the feelings of any attorneys, though that would be impossible, because attorneys don't have feelings. They are in fact heartless cyborgs sent from the year 5000 to destroy the human race with their super-powered egos. They are pure evil. All of them. If Satan and Hitler had babies, etc.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm tired of douche bags
If you're an attorney, wouldn't you go out of your way to avoid the awful cliches that come with the territory? "Sure, I've got power and money, but I'm not going to act like it because that makes me an asshole". Shouldn't that be the deal? Or is that why people become attorneys, because they're already assholes? No offense to my attorney and would-be attorney friends. You are the exceptions. Actually, that raises a good question, if you would be so kind. [To be read in your most nasaly Seinfeld voice]. What's the deal with attorneys?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Best Of's
I didn't even get a chance to see all the movies that supposedly weren't worth seeing in '05. But don't worry. That won't stop me from making a list.


1. The Squid and the Whale. First of all, I admit that I take to funny/sad indie movies, like LA Girl takes to romantic comedies. Seamlessly, witty writing, precise acting, and intimate directing combine to paint a raw, sometimes unnerving picture of a family dealing with divorce. It ain't pretty, but it also never loses its dry sense of humor, which is what makes it my favorite of the year.

2. The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The best comedy I've seen in a loooong time. Unlike Wedding Crashers, which coasts on a few key bits o' funny, this is great throughout. I have a feeling they stuck to the script more with Virgin too, unlike Crashers, which too often seemed to let the actors just "do their thing".

3. Me and You and Everyone we Know. A fringe culture romantic comedy? People looking for real connections in an age of impersonal media? It's hard to nail this movie down, which is part of why it's great. Miranda July's visual storytelling is sometimes puzzling and distant, sometimes warm and visceral. And who knew a scene involving a kid having "sex talk" on line could be so funny?

4. Walk the Line. As biopics go, it's probably not the best. I mean, Ray gave us a 360 degree view of a dude's life. But, maybe wisely, this movie focuses almost entirely on Jonny Cash's great, simple need for love as the antidote to his demons. It didn't hurt that the music kicked ass, too.

5. Batman Begins. Okay. Katie Homes was awful. Let's just get that out of the way. Otherwise, it made me feel like a kid. Chris Nolan created all the necessary mood, gave us the bare bones of the Batman story (something that was missing from the Tim Burton movie), cast it (almost) perfectly, and staged great action sequences, save for the over the top, out-of-control subway scene at the end.

Some runners up

I liked The Family Stone, but I thought the main character was kinda bland, a couple of the supporting characters seemed tacked on, and the story resolved itself with Romantic Comedy cliches (well, except for the very last scene). Admittedly, my opinion may be tainted by the joker who, before the movie started, tried to bro it up with me 'cause we were guys seein' a chick movie.

Wedding Crashers was funny, but I've seen Vince Vaughn play Vince Vaughn in a lot of movies now. He's still good, but not good enough to carry characters and jokes that were otherwise hit and miss. I also think it's a bad sign when you go into a broad comedy drunk and ready to laugh, but sober up half way through. Same thing happened during Anchorman, incidentally.

At first, I didn't want to like Cinderella Man because the first 45 minutes were solely designed to make me cry. I didn't. And I kinda resented the movie for it. I wished the poor, impoverished people of the Depression would just get over it already. Then, probably because of Paul Giamatti, I started to warm up to it, and by the end, I was totally rooting for Russell Crowe's character. So it ended up being worthwhile, if not completely humorless.


1. Lost. This is one of very few shows that actually lives up its ridiculous hype. The first season, anyway. We start season 2 later this week.

2. Arrested Development. Season 1. I don't think any show has ever, days after viewing, made me spontaneously burst into laughter. Will Arnett is a genius. And wha, Liza Minnelli is funny??

3. Six Feet Under lightened up a little for its last season, and had a couple really great episodes (the return of Patricia Clarkson, and Nate's 40th birthday party).

4. The American Office. Still not as good as the original, but uses the formula well.

5. Curb Your Enthusiasm. HOLY SHIT IT'S A SPOILER ALERT!! The last episode, where Larry embraces Christianity under mistaken circumstances, then dies briefly and goes to heaven, only to be kicked out by his angel, Dustin Hoffman, for being too obnoxious, made the whole season worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stickin' it to the Man (sort of not really)
I got out of a jaywalking ticket this morning. I was crossing the street to go get coffee with my friend whose name sounds like Adeetjah, but is most definitely spelled differently (can you tell we're tight?). We didn't go to the crosswalk, because why go all the way up to the crosswalk when the coffee place is right across the street?! This has been my philosophy for the past 3 years, anyway.

So we're stranded in the center lane, waiting for traffic to subside, when a motorcycle cop sees us and pulls over. Adeetja pretends to get a phone call so as to look distracted. I just used the more old fashioned technique of avoiding eye contact, though I knew full well there was no chance in hell this would actually work.

When we finally crossed, the cop beckoned us over. He asked us for our IDs. At this point I'd resigned myself to the ticket, figuring I've jaywalked every day for three years. This is fair. I'll take it like a man. Then, as the cop gets the ticket out, Adeetjah starts spouting apologies. "We've learned our lesson", etc. After about a minute of groveling, the cop looked at me. "So he's the schmoozer and you're the silent one, is that it?". That's when I flew into a monologue about how broke I am. The cop actually felt sorry for me. He started giving financial advice. "Hey man, you're young. You should at least keep a small entertainment fund".

And then he let us go. And that's when I revised my attitude about jaywalking tickets. From now on, I'll take it like a man, but only if groveling fails.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Remember nice horror movies, like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist? I'm talking about when murder and mayhem was part of the story, and not the whole thing. Even Friday the 13th, the first one, for all its camp, had a creepy premise as its core. This shit freaks me out, but not necessarily because it's scary. It looks... gross. It seems like a cop out if the sole purpose of a movie is to push the limits of how disgusting a movie can be. How big are your balls, audience?! CAN YOU HANDLE THIS SHIT?!?!?! I'm all for films that eff with the audience, but GAH. I'd just rather not pay $12 to enter a pissing contest.

Another reason I'll pass is that Eli Roth's first movie pretty much sucked. It was almost redeemed by the one hilarious scene where the little kid with the mullet gets infected or whatever, and as a result, does a slow-mo spin kick off the porch... almost redeemed. Otherwise it blew.

I'm not a huge horror fan (Gay Cowboy is my genre). I definitely skipped Saws 1 and 2 (for reasons, see above), and avoided the flood of low-budge garbage that was released over the past few years (Venom, anyone?). Really, nothing's looked that appealing since 28 Days Later. To me, that sets the contemporary bar for scary movies. Not the most original concept, but it freaked my shit out, and all the gross parts felt earned. And it's smart, to boot.

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