Sunday, August 30, 2009

Movie of the Week

This week,


Starring- John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Tom Hulce, Donald Sutherland

In honor of back to school time, I chose the quintessential college film for this week's movie. This film is easily in the top three all time comedies, and made fraternities something every guy wanted to join. I can say that this is true for me, and I can't thank Animal House enough for my fraternity experience.

Obviously, not every frat has characters as colorful as Bluto, Otter, Boon and Pinto, but if you've been in the Greek system or even gone to college, some part of this movie strikes a chord. College is a time for learning, growing as a person and finding yourself, but it is also a time for Toga parties, road trips, and pranks.

This movie sparkles in every scene, from the opening in the rival Omega house to the final assault on the homecoming parade. Also, few comedies are more quotable than this one. I really like to rate a film on its quotability, and on that scale Animal House is a ten out of ten.

Try these on for size.

"My advice to you is, start drinking heavily."

"Mind if we dance wif your dates?"

"Thank you, sir may I have another?"

"Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman. Damn glad to meet you."

I could go on, but just know that there are so many more to choose from. As the kids start go back to school and the season changes from summer to fall just try to harken back to a simpler time where the trees are filled with underwear and the toilets explode. And remember above all that "Knowledge is Good."

Things to Look for-

Donald Sutherland's Ass
Seinfeld's Maestro as Niedermeyer
The Sorority pillow fight (those really do happen)
The amazing soundtrack

"Why Pinto?" "Why Not?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now is the Time to Pretend

There are many film series that I am happy to call myself a fan of, Star Trek, James Bond, Star Wars, Batman, Rocky, etc. However, within some of the great series lie a movie or two or three that suck so much you wish they had never made it. I can say that there are many films that I wish I could erase from my memory and fabricate something less awful in my mind in their place. I have worked very hard to eradicate any vestiges of these films from my mind, and you probably should too.

Here is a list of some of the films that need to be repressed.


The first 2 X-Men movies were great, and really made the comic book genre relevant in real life. Unlike other superhero flicks, the X-Men films were seemingly grounded in reality and the actors (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman) brought a credibility that set the bar for the new Batman films. I was so hungry to see the next installment after the Star Trek II-esque ending of X2, but could not have been more disappointed with the result. Brett Ratner took over the reins from Bryan Singer and led a great franchise into the toilet. Why? Why did Singer have to leave to make a crappy Superman movie? Only he knows, and now we are stuck pretending that The Last Stand didn't kill off Cyclops, Xavier and leave Magneto powerless. Thanks for nothing, Ratner.


Again, two strong outings in a comic book series left me feeling optimistic for number 3, but again I was sooo wrong. Spiderman 3 has even less of an excuse to be awful than X-Men 3 because of the fact that the same team that brought us 1 and 2 came back to make 3. Sam Raimi did his actors no favors by muddying up the story with not one, not two, but three villians (New Goblin, Sandman and Venom) when each could have stood on their own. Also, Topher Grace stunk, as did Snaggletooth (Kirsten Dunst) who lobbied to have her character sing in the movie. What a mistake. They're planning a fourth film, but I'm not rushing to see it.


Where to begin? George Lucas has been on my shit list for so long now that I scarcely remember when I admired him for his early work. Nineteen years after the last Indy film, they made what can only be described as a cinematic stillborn. I wish I could abort the memory of the film because it effectively raped my childhood. I grew up on Indiana Jones, and dressed as him for Halloween more than once, but when I saw this film it was like watching somebody murder Santa Claus. I can't even get into specifics because it was so bad, but just let me say that in no universe, real or otherwise, is Shia LeBouf related to Harrison Ford.


Not that I don't appreciate Dolph Lundgren's work, but they should have stopped after Rocky III. The end of the film where Rocky and Apollo fight alone in Mickey's gym is a perfect coda to the series. Even though I will watch Rocky pummel Ivan Drago when it comes on T.V., I swear I will never own anything but the first three films. Sly could never top Mr. T and Hulk Hogan as opponents even if he tried for 100 years.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Movie of the Week

This week,


Starring- Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan

Most people have seen this movie, but whether you have or not, it is one of my favorites. It is one of those that is hard to pass up when it comes on T.V., and even then, I still pop in the old VHS every so often.

Robin Williams used to be watchable, believe it or not, and is at the peak of his comedic powers in this film. As the struggling actor/father, he uses his ability to "do voices" to impersonate a cleaning woman/nanny to see his kids and keep an eye on his ex-wife (Sally Field). The film not only delivers laughs, but it makes some nice commentary about how divorce can affect a family. My parents divorced when I was three, and even though my dad never impersonated a British nanny, I feel that I got some good things from this movie about how to cope.

Enough of this sad sack stuff, bottom line- this is a funny movie. The best parts are the montages (I love me a montage) when Robin Williams rattles off impressions to get a job, horrify Sally Field or testing out make up and costumes with his gay brother.

Do yourself a favor and re-watch this and look for the small moments that make it both hilarious and endearing at the same time.

Things to watch for-

The always classic Robert Prosky as Mr. Lundy
Aerosmith's Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
Hot Jambalaya!
Two Fat Asian Kids
Matthew Lawrence (For the ladies only)

"It was a run-by fruiting."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I have been performing lately in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Pirates of Penzance, and for it I have grown a beard.  I am not really thinking I will hang onto it after the show ends, but the reviews have been positive, so maybe I will keep it.  The wife likes it, which is really the most important opinion, but even with that said, I don't like the beard in its current form.

To appear more piratey, I have just let the beard grow pretty wild, so if I do keep it, I will have to sculpt it. Here are some beards of note that I might model my facial hair on.  Feedback is welcome.
'The Riker'

'The Tony Stark'

'The Kipling'

'The Manifesto'

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Quarterbacks Ever

With this crappy Brett Favre saga going on, it has made me think about his place among the all time greats. I have decided to make a list of the QBs that I think are the best in NFL history. Yes, Favre is among them despite his on again/off again/on again drama with the Vikings, and before that the Jets, and before that my Packers.  

10. Steve Young
Nice arm, won Super Bowl, followed #1 with class and quality. Nice mobility too.

9. Dan Marino
Had the records, but what did he ever win? He won my heart in Ace Ventura.

8. John Elway
Most would have him higher, but I hate John Elway. He lost how many Super Bowls before Terrell Davis won him two? P.S. I hate John Elway.

7. Troy Aikman
Took Big D to three Super Bowls, and won them all. 

6. Johnny Unitas
The crew cut was a hairstyle you could set your watch by, he was the gold standard for a long time and led the Colts to a few championships.

5. Peyton Manning
Cool, calm, smart. Multiple MVP and won a Super Bowl while turning around a moribund franchise. Good commercials too. Still the best Manning.

4. Tom Brady
Big winner, this guy. He's here for that, and because he's married to Gisele.

3. Terry Bradshaw
Another winner, and got the Steelers on the map as the best franchise in the league.

2. Brett Favre
Has all the records, 3 MVPs, Super Bowl victory and is the definition of iron man.  He just had to ruin it by going to the Vikes.

1. Joe Montana
He just won. Period.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Movie of the Week

This week,


Starring- Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Lori Petty

The original bromance that I credit for making me "Crazy for Swayze." I have seen this film quite a few times lately (Thanks, Encore) and even though I can't get enough of the love/hate, cop/robber, Swayze/Reeves relationship, I have to say the real grist for the mill here is brought by Gary Busey.

Busey plays FBI veteran Angelo Pappas who takes young, ex-quarterback Johnny Utah (Reeves) under his wing to catch the surfing, bank robbing Ex-Presidents, led by Swayze. Whether he's on a stakeout pounding 2 meatball sandwiches, dispensing wisdom on the FBI lifestyle, or grabbing bricks from the bottom of a pool, Busey shines in every scene.  Forget all the surfing, skydiving, chases, stunts and homoerotic horseplay, and watch a master at work.

I'll let the man speak for himself with some of his best and most eloquent lines-

"When they run they dump the vehicle and they vanish... like a virgin on prom night. I mean they vanish."

"Listen you snot-nose little shit, I was takin' shrapnel in Khe Sanh when you were crappin' in your hands and rubbin' it on your face. "

"22 years. Man, L.A. has changed a lot during that time. The air got dirty and the sex got clean. "

"Utah! Get me two! "

"I'm so hungry I could eat the ass end out of a dead rhino, I should have had you get me three of these things! "

"I've been on the job for over 20 years, and I fail to see what fishing bricks from the bottom of a pool has got to do with bank robbery. And on top of that, they got me babysitting some quarterback punk, named Johnny Unitas or something. "

That said, there are still some great scenes that don't involve the Juicy Busey, but try and watch the film with a little more awareness for Angelo Pappas. Now enjoy some of the best lines that will take you back to a more innocent time for the two totally radical stars.

"I know Johnny. I know you want me so bad it's like acid in your mouth. But, not this time. "

"Back off Warchild, seriously."

"You gonna jump or jerk off? "

"Vaya con Dios, Brah. "

Things to watch for-

Keanu's sexy black sheets.
Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Keidis gets his foot blown apart
Anytime Bohdi waxes philosophical
John C. McGinley, that's all.

"If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love. "

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Religious Dinner Table

When I taught World Religions, I used a metaphor to explain how I thought the conflicting religions of the world could possibly get over their centuries of acrimony.  This is really not a new idea, but a nice dream. This class was right around lunchtime, and so many of the metaphors and references had to do with food, so bear with me.

Imagine a large circular dinner table, if you will, with no head- like Camelot's Round Table.  At the table are the leaders of all the religions of the world.  The Pope, the Dalai Lama, Bishops, Rabbis, Voodoo guys, the LDS President, there's even room for the Scientologists.  Just don't send Tom Cruise because there are rules about jumping on the furniture.

Everyone is seated and comfortable, and lunch is about to be served.  On the menu at the religious dinner table is Pizza.  Why pizza? Well, for 2 reasons, one- as my uncle says it's like sex, when it's good it's great, and when it's bad it's still pretty good,  And two- it is the one food that I have found most people can agree on.

That said, pizza can be difficult to agree on.  I personally like a thin crust with pepperoni, olives and mushrooms.  My wife likes Hawaiian.  I hate Hawaiian and she hates pepperoni and olives, so how if we can't agree on pizza how will all the world's religious leaders?  The Jews won't have Canadian Bacon, but might want a New York style, the Catholics will want meat and Chicago style, but not on Friday and the Vegan Pagans will want soy cheese and a gluten free crust.  I smell more acrimony brewing.

Okay, well let's have them agree to disagree on toppings, sauces, cheeses, crust styles, etc. everyone gets their own personal pizza.  How then, if each za is different does the metaphor work?  I say focus not on the type of pizza, but on the fact that despite that some like the Hut and others Dominos, everyone can agree that pizza in some form is good, or at least acceptable.

Religion is the same as pizza.  If my wife and I can have friends over and decide to eat pizza, but not get bogged down in the details, perhaps those in power can put aside some of their issues and agree on the basic concept of dough with some fixings, then perhaps they can go the next step to mending some of the oldest conflicts on the planet.  Pizza is not called the perfect food for nothing, people.

Some Rules For Being a Guy

Here are some things that I think should be true of all men.

Tank tops are only acceptable when working out. Period.

Open doors for women, and stand up when they arrive and leave the table.

Trim your nose hair/fingernails regularly.

Look and laugh at, but don't wear shirts that say- "Give me Head 'til I'm Dead" "Of Course I Love You, My Dick is Hard Isn't It?" and "GILF."

Tribal tattoos aren't cool or badass.

Don't go out to dinner if you can't afford to tip at least 20%.

Never show up for a party empty handed.

If your girlfriend/wife lets you watch football, let her watch something on Style or TLC.

Don't forget Anniversaries, birthdays, Valentines, etc. That's just asking for trouble.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Movie of the Week

Here is the first of what I plan to be a weekly feature of the blog. I will pick a film to be my movie of the week- it will be film I know well that I think you should see or see again. Take it or leave it.

This week,


Directed by Carol Reed
Starring- Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Valli, Trevor Howard

This film is easily in my top five of all time. If you have never seen it, put it on your Netflix list or whatever. Based on the novel by Graham Greene, it focuses on post-war Vienna and beautifully captures the spirit of the forlorn city. Even if you have never seen the film, you have seen its influence or parodies of its scenes. Welles is great as the mysterious Harry Lyme, and after this you will remember him as a handsome cad, and not the wine-drenched planetoid he became in his later years.
Cotten is also good as the conflicted hero who tries to negotiate the seedy world of Vienna with a beautiful girl and the British and Russian authorities complicating his search for his old friend, Lyme. His scenes with Howard, who plays the British commander, bristle with wit and conflict.
Director Carol Reed brilliantly weaves suspense, humor and melancholy in a way that makes Hitchcock pissed he didn't make this film himself. He also shoots the film in stark contrast, so much so that you can't imagine the film in anything but black and white. The scene where we meet Welles' character is so powerful because of the use of the shadows and light. Few reveals compare in the history of film.
Also worth mention is Anton Karras' signature zither music which makes this film even more unique. What makes it even more amazing is that he made the music up as he went along, without writing it down.
With all this said, The Third Man is a brilliant piece of cinema, and it is no wonder that it was voted the best British film of all time. For fans of Welles, the spy genre, mystery, suspense, great characters and music, this movie does not disappoint.


The fat Viennese kid with the ball
A pre-James Bond Bernard Lee (M)
The Prater Ferris Wheel Scene
The Sewers, oh the Sewers
The Greatest Ig of all time

"Death's at the bottom of everything, Martins. Leave death to the professionals."

Why Should You Read This

Oh look, another blog.  Seriously, everybody has a damn blog these days, so why should you give a rat crap what I have to say? I'll tell you. I have always been blessed/cursed with the ability to retain the most random grab bag of information imaginable. It has made it possible to win many a game of Trivial Pursuit, and be the guy people go to with questions on movies, books, T.V., music and other factoids. I am starting this blog to be the outlet for my gift.  For a few years, my father wrote a column for a local paper called "Professor Know-it-All" in which he used his vast knowledge of random facts to answer questions from readers.  Consider this the Junior version, with a more pedestrian style. So, even though I'm pouring one more rambling, ranting, look-at-me website into the already overcrowded webisphere (sp.?) I have something to say.  That something is superficial, but I feel that with great power comes great responsibility, and I have a power for remembering stupid shit, and now the responsibility to share it.