Category: Movies



Bespoke cocktail

The word “bespoke.”  I was in a bar last week that boasted “custom bespoke cocktails.”  First of all, way to be redundant.  Second, what the fuck is a bespoke cocktail?  By definition, that a poncy way of saying “we’ll mix whatever the hell you want.”  In which case, that’s like, you know, EVERY BAR.  Fuuuuuck yooooouuuuu.

“Curate” is another word.  Holy fuck is this word thoroughly misappropriated.  Almost as bad as “diva” was.  Museums and art galleries only, if that.  You don’t get to fucking curate anything else.  A butcher is not a meat curator, a DJ is not a music curator, you don’t curate Twitter feeds, none of you assholes are curators in any capacity.  Please fuck off with the curating.

Occupy Sandy“Occupy” anything.  Here’s a bonus fuck you to the assholes who wasted their meaningless lives about a year ago trying to picket Wall Street.  A lot of good that did, you fuckwads.  No one gave a shit then, and fewer than no one give a shit today.  But what’s worse is somehow this “occupy” term taking on a whole new meaning for which it was never intended.  Don’t believe me?  Look at this shit on the left.

Lena Dunham.  Holy shit, you are SUCH a bore.  If Lena Dunham is to be cultural milestone, then 2012 is the year of celebrating mediocrity.  You’re not funny, you’re not interesting, how the fuck you finagled million dollar deals out of tepid, borings ideas that no one gives a shit about is beyond me.  And frankly, I’m jealous as fuck.  Because no one’s giving me million dollar deals for any my stupid ideas.  Oh, that’s right, I don’t have hyperartistic celebrity parents like you, you charlatan.  Ugh, enough with this dummy.

Instagram is all its faux filtered tilt-shift bullshit glory.  If someone took away Instagram tomorrow, would you miss it?  Would you?  I know if someone took away my Facebook or Twitter, I’d be fucking pissed.  But Instagram?  Who gives a shit.  Instagram did one thing only – they ability to share filtered, tilt-shifted photos.  Sharing?  Any number of other platforms can do that.  Shitty filters and fake tild-shift effects?  Every other camera app can do that now.  So what’s the value of keeping Instagram around?  And they’ve now got some new policy where they can sell my photos?  Fuck that.  I just deleted my account.

Vinyl SkateboardPlastic mini skateboards.  I got my elder kid a skateboard last year.  It was brilliant – a proper skateboard with a maple deck, trucks, big bearing wheels, the lot.  Then these stupid vinyl mini-skateboards show up all over the city. All commandeered by some hipster douchebag with a gnarly beard.  It takes every fiber of my being not to throw an empty Starbucks cup in front of one of these douchebags just so see him fly and eat some curb.  Fuck off with these little skateboards, you look ridiculous.

Homeland.  If there’s one thing I can reliably count on each Monday, it’s that my Twitter feed and my Facebook page will be completely inundated with comments about fucking Homeland.  “ZOMG!!  Homeland is the greeaaatest!!!!”  “WTF!  Homeland jumped the shark!!”  I have never seen the show and at this point, I never want to.  It may be a good show, but I’ll never know for real because you fuckers have ruined it by being completely incapable of not yammering about it all day and night.

Dubstep.  Thank you all for already killing this off.  Skrillex can now go back to pumping gas in the Valley.

That Gangnam guy.  Please, PLEASE, PLEASE go away.  I hope someone takes him across the border and straps him to one of Kim Jong Un’s “weather rockets.”

YOLO.  A few years ago, when I was in the market for my first paddleboard, I nearly bought one that was Yolo brand.  Thank fuck I didn’t or I’d have to set on fire, gather up the ashes, then set it on fire again just to be sure.  If anyone ever uses the phrase YOLO to you, verbally or in writing, no judge would ever convict if you decided to stab ‘em with a rusty spoon.

Camera phone self-portraits in the mirror.  It’s the holding of the phone that’s so, so stupid.  If you must use your camera phone to take pictures of yourself, make sure it’s dick shots only (Brett Favre can help if you’re not sure).  No more self-portraits.  And I’m not even going to get into doing with iPads.

Moustache FingerMoustaches.  I don’t just mean in November (although that can fuck off, too, because all that Movember bullshit is prejudiced against those of us who can refrain from shaving for two months and still look like cantaloupes).  I mean year-round.  Hipster moustaches, moustache ink on index fingers, glue-on stashes, all of it.  A follicle tuft positioned between your upper lip and your nostrils is hardly a thing that needs to be celebrated, so please fuck off.  Moustaches on Instagram are the fucking worst.


Every time “Rudy” is on TV, I drop everything and I have to watch it.  Even though I’ve watched it about a hundred times by now.  And every fucking time, it makes me cry, right at the end.  I’m an enormous pussy like that.  But then again, I understand that this movie has the same effect on a lot of dudes.  Even some die-hard life-long Notre Dame haters.

“Rudy” is one of the greatest films ever made.  Shut up, ‘cause I’m not taking any argument about this.

So Game 1 of the 2012 World Series rolls around, we cut to a commercial break and I hear the “Rudy” theme.  It’s quick cut footage of kids and grown-ups, all doing every manner of sport.  90-seconds later, the end frame reveals that it’s a spot for Dick’s Sporting Goods.  90-seconds of growing aural exhilaration and it’s a giant cock tease for a shitty sporting goods chain store.

Fuck. That.

You can’t fucking do that.  The “Rudy” theme carries meaning.  It has a certain quality to it.  In fact, it’s got lots of qualities to it because of the film: tenacity, redemption, grit, glory.  NONE of which apply to a sporting goods chain store.  So, fuck Dick’s (that sounds weird).

There are very limited occasions in which you’re allowed to use the “Rudy” theme.  Here are the very few occasions the “Rudy” theme is be allowed.

  • Football games.  Of course, part of it is the theme’s pedigree – it’s football music for a football film.  But it can only be used with football.  Not hockey, not basketball, not baseball, not any other sporting event – despite what Dick’s wants to sell you.  A lot of that has to do with the late, great Steve Sabol, who with his dad, perfected the art of overdramatic football film.  The Sabols had this remarkable talent to slow down film and make even the derpiest football action look like a Wachowski action sequence.  And not to get all band geek here, but mostly because the “Rudy” theme is a bit of a march.  No other sport has in-game action that mimics a march like football does.  No other sport has such military-esque assembly in which such attention is paid to orchestration and timing.  No football, no “Rudy”.
  • Weddings.  Specifically as the bride walks down the aisle.  Shut up and stop being so selfish, girls, let the groom have this one.  The whole fucking day’s already all about you chicks.  For some reason, dudes always are nervous as shit on their wedding day (I have no idea why – I got married in my mid-20s and it was a fucking breeze).  So the least the guy can have is a cool-ass theme song as his bride walks down the aisle.  It’s a fucking kick ass piece of music, it’ll pump up the dude and get rid of his nerves, and it’ll be the one thing – the one fucking thing – that’s about him on that day.
  • Pre-school graduations.  This is mostly for the dads who have to go to these stupid things.  As a rule, kids get too many graduation ceremonies growing up.  Pre-school graduations, kindergarten graduations, first grade ceremonies, the list goes on.  Stop making a big deal out of something the kids are SUPPOSED to do – finish the grade and move the hell on.  So for something as goddamn gratuitous as a pre-school graduation, you might as well make it kick ass for the attendees.  No “Pomp and Circumstance” – that’s college material, and you 5 years-old ingrates haven’t earned it.  No, put on the “Rudy” theme, the kids won’t know any better and every fucking dad is going to be high-fiving each other.  Everybody wins.
  • After an In-N-Out Double-Double, Animal-style French fries, and a milkshake.  Because you know that meal is fucking epic.  Which means it needs to be celebrated.

So, just for good measure, here’s the ending of “Rudy”.  The bit that always makes me cry.  That’s what the “Rudy” theme means.

Goddamnit, I just cried again.




So after many, many months years of hype, I finally got down to watching The Avengers when it came out on DVD this week (OMG!! DVDs, who the hell still uses DVDs?!  This loser who still owns a VCR, that’s who)

And if you know hype like I do, having something that lives up to its hype is rarer than getting Apple Maps to work right.  So when I sat down to watch it, I did so a tad begrudgingly.  How the hell could some big studio, big Hollywood production, big action, cashtastic summer movie be that good?  I mean, haven’t we all learned our lesson by now thanks to the douchenozzles of summer flicks: Michael Bay, Brett Ratner, the list goes on.

But this was different, I was promised.  It’s Joss Whedon!  You know, Buffy-Joss Whedon.  Great, another show I never watched or gave a shit about.

Still, this was the biggest movie of the year (I think, I can’t be arsed to look up the tally between this and the Batman movie).  Of course, I’ll watch it.

And it was… surprisingly good.  All said and done, it was a fun movie that checked all the right boxes.  Pretty cool story, enough back story so that I wasn’t completely lost at the beginning (while I typically get my comic book nerd on in full force, I blew off both the Captain America and Thor movies because, holy shit, enough already – so I didn’t have a ton of reference for shit like the Tesseract), and the action was pretty good, I guess.

All of which made it easier to overlook some of the more petty criticisms.  Like Samuel L. Jackson’s persistent overacting, which is the only way he knows to act.  And what the fuck was the point of dark-haired SHIELD agent who did little more than strut around in her catsuit looking insanely hot?  (Oh, that WAS the point – nevermind!)  And why did Thor sound like a drunk Irish sailor?  Also, it seemed like The Avengers spent most of the movie fighting each other, rather than the bad guy.  I mean, one or two side battles is fine, but EVERYONE got in on it.  Get it together, assholes.

But by the end, I bought into it, thumbs up.

When the credits rolled, I wondered, given how fast Hollywood are to rip ideas off someone else, why haven’t DC orchestrated movie deals that ladder up to something the magnitude of The Avengers?  All those other movies – Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America – they were all calculated precursors towards the big prize (why the hell else would you need another Hulk movie?!), the mega make-it-rain party that is The Avengers.  I dunno, Marvel seem to have done a great job creating a long-term strategy to cash in big.

So why not DC?

And then it dawned on me that The Avengers worked because they’re a collective of really shitty superheroes.  Completely unlike DC superheroes.

DC superheroes typically have enough depth that they could hold their own movies – Batman, Superman (not so fast, Aquaman, you’re a waterlogged dipshit).  As characters, they’re multidimensional, have interesting backgrounds, and most important, they have cool powers or gadgets, even if they do have some weird fondness for wearing their briefs on the outside.

Case in point: Batman is moody, has seemingly unlimited Bat-toys, and has an annoying raspy voice; Superman can fly, turn back time by spinning the planet backwards, and has LASER EYES!!!

Captain America has muscles and a shield.  What the fuck is that.  That is such a bullshit premise for a superhero.  To be a proper superhero, you need someone with some domineering trait, some dynamic power or gimmick.  A fucking shield?!  Far and away the shittiest superhero accessory.

Matched only by Hawkeye.  OMG, Hawkeye is the fucking worst.  What makes him a superhero is a bow and a quiver of arrows.  That doesn’t make him special.  That makes him a candidate for the Olympics or a staff member at Club Med.  At one point in the movie, Hawkeye runs out of arrows – as you do – and then you immediately realize at that point that he’s fucking useless.  For comparison, let me remind you: Superman has laser eyes that never run out!!

There’s useless and there’s completely unimpressive.  Black Widow is a hot chick with two pistols.  Really, that’s it?  That’s all it takes to be a superhero now?  How the fuck is she different from every other Angelina Jolie movie.  So fucking lame.  Did I mention that Superman has laser eyes and is impervious to bullets!

Which brings me to Thor.  What the fuck’s his problem?  First of all, go big or go the fuck home.  Put the fucking winged helmet on, motherfucker.  You’re Thor, the Norse god of thunder.  Not Thor, the Norwegian death metal bass player.  Wait, maybe I have that the other way ’round.  Maybe you’re suppose to wear the helmet if you’re in the death metal band.  In any case, stop talking like Yoda, Thor, you sound like an asshole.

Speaking of green creatures, let’s talk about the Hulk.  Quite simply the most enjoyable character in the entire fucking movie.  Mainly because the CGI manifestation was kept to a minimum.  Mark Ruffalo played Bruce Banner with such a wondeful inner struggle, inner pain, and anxious caution, he was on an entirely different level from the rest of the cast.  And when the CGI beast was on-screen, he was responsible for the best scene in the movie:

Iron Man?  I’m still stinging from the complete shitfest that was Iron Man 2.  Holy shit, what an awful movie that was.  The other thing about Iron Man?  He comes with baggage named Pepper Potts.  And anything that forcibly shoves Gwyneth Paltrow’s horrible person in my face can fuck right off.

So you see, a collective of incredibly shallow, shitty superheroes who need each other to be viable in any manner.  Apart, they’re laughable.  To make the formula work, they HAVE to band together.

Which is why a proper Justice League movie will likely collapse under its own weight.  I mean, just look at how dense and complex Chris Nolan’s Batman is.  No doubt Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman movie will take a page out of Chris Nolan’s superhero treatment.  Neither superhero needs the other to make a better movie.  Each of those guys is deep enough to carry a film on his own.  On their own, they’re not shitty superheroes with shitty powers.  Do I need to remind you that Superman has LASER EYES?!  Laser eyes beat EVERYTHING, by the way.  If I were Superman, I’d use my laser eyes on everything: bank robbers, terrorists, bacon, you name it.

Does anyone in The Avengers have laser eyes?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.


  • This morning, I saw a dad checking to see if his kid had a poopy diaper.  No biggie, just pulled the top band and peeked into the kid’s crack.  I’m so fucking grateful I never ever have to do that again with my kids.  The next time I have to do this with my kids, the roles are gonna be reversed.
  • It should be perfectly alright to make fun of a guy who wears pleated trousers.
  • If you shoot a video with your camera phone in vertical orientation, the phone should prompt you, “Are you sure you wanna shoot it this way, stupid?”
  • It is entirely too fucking soon to have pumpkin beer on the shelves.  It’s fucking August, for fuck’s sake.  First of all, pumpkin beer is for assholes, so let me get that out of the way.  Beer needs to taste like beer, not like a pie.  There are rules for this shit.  But if you must stock pumpkin-flavored beer, August is too soon.  Everyone bitches when Santa shoves his ass into our faces by Halloween – selling pumpkin beer before Labor Day is exactly the same fucking thing.  Fuck off with pumpkin beer.
  • You know what I really need?  A Michigan filter.  This time of year, every insufferable Michigan fan farts their fandom to make sure that everyone knows that they went to Michigan.  Fuck Michigan.   No one – NO ONE – is more annoying than a Michigan fan.  They go on about the motherfucking Big House.   Good one, Michigan – the prison metaphor fits you assholes perfectly.  Yet, you’re like boneheaded Raider fans who are too pussy to earn proper criminal records.  “Go Blue” is such a fucking stupid pointless chant.  Last time I checked, this little bitch team had two colors – blue and yellow (fuck off with your “maize” – that’s corn, motherfucker).  Why the fuck are you ignoring the yellow?   Dipshit NY Giants fans also holler “Go Blue”, so way to go, Michigan.  Way to set yourselves apart.  Fuck Michigan.

This is almost not worth my time.  It’s fucking ridiculous that I’m actually taking time out to rebuff some stupid article I just read.  Because the subject of SUVs is so fucking old and tired, and it’s been done to death, and it’s fucking boring.


Surely this is some shitty troll write-up that’s meant to rile up certain gearheads who are stupid enough to get riled up (me).  I mean, most of the time, I love GawkerDeadspin, in particular – but holy shit, do they come up with some massively pointless articles every so often.  In fact, that’s the problem with a lot of these sites that used to be sites that just reposted someone else’s stories.  Somewhere along the way, they decided that they need to compete as content generators and not just content aggregators.  And in so doing, often they struggle to come up with some minimum amount of original content for our insatiable appetite for said content.

And that’s why we end up with such a seemingly banal yet thoroughly retarded write-up assuming to validate SUVs.

If you can’t be arsed to read the article, here’s the sum up of what the whole stupid write-up is driving at:

OMG, your mom must’ve gracefully descended from the heavens, with all her hyper intelligence and miraculous supernatural powers, to have managed the herculean task of carting your stupid ass all over town without some swollen, overpriced pretend-offroading vehicular monstrosity.  Just how DID she manage?!  What a saint!  Oh, the humanity!

With all due respect – and complete sincerity – do fuck off.

ZOMG, sedans aren’t “convenient as something with a big tailgate”!!!  WE NEED A TAILGATE!!  Everyone needs tailgates!!  And sedans can’t accommodate large car seats!!  “OMG, these soft, pudgy, fast food-fed kids are too big-boned to fit to a family sedan!!”  “We must pack lightly – the horror of not being able to cram the entire contents of my house into my car!”  “Honey, there’s no way I can’t fit little Maddie’s Barbie dream house, her pack-n-play, the bottle warmer, her DVD player, all her Baby Einstein discs, AND your mega-duty breast pump into our normal car so that we can go to the mall – WE TOTALLY NEED AN SUV!!!”

This writer’s a fucking idiot.

As a father of two, I’ll just say that anything larger than a four-door sedan is completely pointless and unnecessary.  We have comfortably survived – fuck it, thrived! – with only four-door sedans.  Imagine that: a simple sedan, four wheels, four doors, a trunk, and we’ve managed fine.  Car seats, strollers, diaper bags, toys, foldable playpens, all the shit that you *need* (:rolleyes:) when you have little kids – they all fit nicely into our humble Volkswagen sedan.  AND a little dog, too, beeyotch.  I never even had a roof rack on my car until very recently (hey, it’s not my fault that paddleboards are 12 feet long).

I know some families with one or two kids, and they all have some beastly SUV with an enormous engine in it.  They clamp on some equally enormous luggage carrier to the roof rack.  The rear of the car’s got some a massive bike rack.  And it’s got a hitch.  I have no idea if the luggage carrier on top ever has anything in it, but those bike racks are always empty, and everything’s permanently bolted to their SUVs ALL THE TIME.  Really?!  The fuck you need all that shit for?  It looks like a prop from the upcoming Mad Max movie.  It’s like they’ve just bought some monstrous car and they’ve got to further validate this purchase by attaching all these extra bits and pieces on it because “that’s why we needed the big SUV!”

I’ll tell you what this is: fucking gluttony.

So what you end up with is single-digit mpg, a heavy lumbering shit box that handles even more poorly than it already did, awful parking jobs (because, admit it, you can’t park that thing for shit), and maximum carbon monoxide for maximum earth scorching.

I speak from the perspective of having two kids.  And I get that there are many families who aren’t limited to two kids.  God, you feel like such a fucking underachiever these days when you have only two kids.  “You have only two kids?  Fuck that, we’re going for more kids than the Brangelinas, loser.”

Yet, it matters little whether someone’s got two kids or nine.  Fact is, most of you are gonna buy an SUV no matter what.  Because you want more, MORE, MORE, MORE!!!  Just don’t use your goddamn kids as the excuse.

And I’m not suggesting that anyone has to make do with less (though that’s hardly a bad thing).  I’m suggesting that maybe we can all learn to live without so much fucking excess.


Earlier this week, I saw some web video featuring Tina Fey.  Actually, I lie – I didn’t watch the video itself because I tire of Tina Fey.  OK, maybe not Tina Fey entirely but the whole “30 Rock” thing.  I stopped watching “30 Rock” in its second season because it became an exercise in watching jokes coming a mile away down Fifth Avenue in a cab for 30 minutes.  One day we’re going to look back at “30 Rock” with an overwhelming amount of scorn.  Sort of the same we look at “Friends” today.

But I digress.  The Tiny Fey video.  I didn’t watch it.  But that’s not important.  Because what’s important is a comment I read that was posted at the bottom of this video.  It read, “Tina Fey is everything I hope my daughter becomes…”  I took a minute to consider if I agreed with this sentiment, given my loathing of “30 Rock”, which has become pretty much my only benchmark of Tina Fey these days.  Apparently, a lifetime on SNL and that “Baby Mama” mean nothing anymore.

And you know what – I agree with that comment.

I know I said before that I tire of Tina Fey.  I probably don’t (remember, I’m pinning all of this on the shit that “30 Rock” has become) because she really does seem a like an admirable human being.  She seems totally normal, probably rocks just the right amount of geek to be lovable (I’m looking at you, Zooey Deschanel – it’s time to learn from the queen), seems to have a healthy work ethic (books, movies, TV show, you name it), has an enviable amount of wit.  She really does embody the perfect cocktail of hard work, talent, and luck.  With seemingly little to no ill side effects for it.  I suppose Tina Fey is effectively what we can envision as “a good person”.  I mean, how the fuck can anyone not get on board that train?

Which got me thinking – who’s the male equivalent of Tina Fey?  That’s not to say that Tina Fey as a role model because she’s a girl.  Or that she’s only a role model for girls and isn’t good enough for the male populace.  What I’m doing is reacting to the comment in that video – “Tina Fey is everything I hope my daughter becomes…” – there’s clearly a gender qualification in that sentiment.

I think about that line and I think about my two sons.  Who the hell can they look up to?  Who can I, as their dad, suggest so-and-so is everything I hope my sons become?  I look to the people I admire(d) – Freddie Mercury, Joe Strummer, Eddie Izzard, and Jimmy Page  – not one of them is good enough for my kids.  They’re brilliant, highly influential, but they’re also fairly flawed in their individual ways.  And half those guys are dead.

Is there anyone alive and kicking that can be a role model in the same vein as Tina Fey?  Someone who matches her ability to be smart, creative, accomplished, virtually free of retarded celebrity behavior, and chilled out.  A good person.

The last time I used the phrase “a good person” was in reference to Adam Yauch.  I was relaying to the missus how much gutted I was that he had died.  Poor, dear Adam Yauch.  I don’t know every detail about him, but the bits that I know were enough to make me cry when he died.  Between the Tibet thing, his persistence with the Beasties and other music ventures, his film company, and generally being known as just as pretty chilled out guy, I suppose Adam Yauch was someone to look up to.

I’m quite fond of Jack White.  He’s got this creative drive and some rare talent that allows him to create some amazing shit.  He’s got the music, he’s done films, he’s got this whole thing with his record company and his mission for the revival of vinyl, and most of all, he’s actively shunned most of the trappings of celeb life (you can’t call that eccentric existence in Nashville a trapping, can you).  But could I say about Jack White that he’s “is everything I hope my son becomes”?  Maybe, I dunno.  He does take himself way too fucking seriously, but it’s hard to hold that against him when you look at what he’s stood for.

I know I just wrote what probably seemed like a love letter to Jack White.  But this isn’t about Jack White.  This is about Tina Fey and whether or not she has a worthy penis-bearing counterpart.  Maybe Jack White’s as good as it gets right now.  If it has to be Jack White, it has to be Jack White, I suppose.

[UPDATE, June 5, 2012]  You know what, fuck Jack White.  Tonight, while I was packing for a quick trip to L.A., I fired up my DVR and found a David Gilmour concert – the one he played at the Royal Albert Hall (I believe it’s the one where David Bowie mangled “Comfortably Numb” because he’s David fucking Bowie).  And I remembered how brilliant David Gilmour is.  How brilliant Gilmour’s always been.  From his slightly defiant youth to chart his own course as a kid when his parents decided to move to the U.S. and he decided to remain in the U.K, to his move to London from Cambridge to try new shit, to joining Pink Floyd, to the rest that is well-known history.  Gilmour is brilliant.  He’s a fucking genius, and I fucking love that guy.  I didn’t even realize what a massive influence he’d been on me, despite the fact that I actually painstakingly took several months to recreate his signature black Strat (no, I didn’t buy the off-the-shelf version from Fender for five grand).  That’s the fucking guy.  That’s guy I think I would probably say with little hesitation, “David Gilmour is everything I hope my son(s) become…”

This past Sunday, I had grand ambitions on how I’d spend my evening.  I thought I could settle in the basement workshop and change all the strings on my guitars.  Or I could sift through my CDs, rip a bunch of songs and make a cool mix tape.  Maybe I could write another blog post, this time pointing out what a colossal waste of time the NBA Slam Dunk contest was (it was fucking terrible, done).

But, nooooooo.  I got the message loud and clear that my attention was needed in front of the TV watching the goddamn Oscars with the missus, and she’ll have no argument about it.  Having kept some ungodly hours at work last week, leaving her to deal with our two ingrates single-handedly meant that I owed her, and if that means three hours of mental flagellation in front of the TV, so be it.

5 minutes into the Oscars, I wanted to throw myself out the window.  I mean, seriously, who gives a shit.  All this pompous, self-congratulatory bullshit celebration of a horribly, horribly mediocre industry filled with awful terrible people.  Billy Crystal going the extra mile t to prove that nine times is way too many times.  And what the fuck was all that circus bullshit – did anybody understand what that was going on about?  Seeing all the cringeworthy banter from plastic-faced people like Gwyneth Paltrow made me want to pull a Sylvia Plath and wear my oven as a helmet.

But this isn’t about the Oscars.  No, this is about what saved the Oscars for me: Twitter and live blogs.

There I was, stretched out on the couch, iPad in hand, my eyes darting between the TV and my Twitter feed.  And Gawker’s live blog.  In particular the live blog made the whole affair not just survivable, but actually enjoyable.  It didn’t make me like the Oscars, but I do know the hilarity of the live blog couldn’t have happened without that train wreck on TV.

And Twitter.  Seeking out the #oscar hashtag provided a steady stream of bullshit comments.  Some funnier than others, most quite dull.  The tweets seemed to average one comical comment for every thirty or so dull-as-fuck ones.  Yet I still tracked the action on Twitter like some degenerate gambler at a racetrack.  Somehow I seemed to be seeking validation for my agony of watching the Oscars.  And I realized that this wasn’t the first time I felt dependent on tweets and live blogs while watching TV.  I did the same thing with the Grammys.  And the Super Bowl.

Why the fuck can’t I just sit and watch TV like a normal human being anymore?  How did I suddenly develop this unnecessary dependence on mobile devices piping in a steady stream of social commentary horseshit?  It’s not like most of the shit on Twitter is stuff that I really need to know anyway.  Most of the time, it was like “OMG, did u c Nicky Minaj perform! WTF!!” (no, Sherlock, you were the only living person tuned to the TV at that moment in the Grammys, the rest of us several million folks collectively got up to go take a slash), or some pointless declaration like “Go Giants!! #patriotsuk” (that’s right, because without your all-important tweet, the Giants surely would’ve lost the game).

And it’s not limited to big TV events, is it.  I mean, Vanity Fair tweet throughout every episode of Downton Abbey every weekend.  Why do I know?  How the fuck do you think I know.  It’s Downton Abbey, for God’s sake.  We’re all tweeting… about poncy poms sweatin’ their virginal reputations… and emotionally-barren old ladies being snippy to each other.  Dear God.

The day I find myself checking my Twitter feed or live blogging while watching an episode of Phineas & Ferb with my kids, I’m throwing my phone through the TV, I swear.  That’s probably going to happen this weekend.


Day 21:  Zero point zero.   That’s what I lost in this week’s weigh in.  Serves me right for forcing an Animal House reference last week.  Now I really have channeled the ghost of Blutarsky.  I lose the lead, natch, and fall back to second place.  A distant second place at that.  This is going every bit as terribly as I had imagined.  Last week’s careless binging cost me big.  Sonofabitch.

Day 22:  This isn’t really about the money anymore.  Sure, winning the pot would be sweet, but sweeter still is the gloating.  Bottom line is I’m a terrible, sore loser.

Day 23:  I may be slightly overdoing it in this final stretch.  Somehow I’ve cooked up (hah!) some demented regimen comprised of calculated starvation and doubling up on workouts.  Like I said last week, I think this may be part of this eating disorder I am unintentionally cultivating.  This exercise in desperation is causing me to be perpetually weary.  It’s like walking around in a hangover haze, but minus the awesome fun night before.  Picture for a moment, if you will, the complete and utter futility of that feeling.

Day 25:  I have lunch with a client today, which means I need to put up with about 5 minutes of ridicule over this stupid contest before our drinks even get to the table.  Fuck it, I’m gonna stick with it.  So I ask for the vegetarian menu (more ridicule erupts).  I go for a grilled vegetable sandwich, forgo the french fries that come with it, and replace it with a cucumber salad.  I am such a chick at this point.  The food arrives and the geniuses in the kitchen have completely SMOTHERED my grilled vegetables with a thick layer of cheese.  Dicks.  But I can’t send it back now ‘cause it’ll come back to me with no cheese but about a gallon of spit in it.  Fuck that.  I go ahead and eat the now-completely-pointless vegetarian sandwich.

Day 26:  It’s a birthday party for my younger kid!  YAY!!!  Pizza, cookies, icing, candy, and a delicious birthday cake the size of a small Mercedes.  He turns five and I turn fat – how great is that.

A sidebar about these fucking birthday parties – they all have to be themed now.  You can’t just let kids run around, have cake, and be done with it.  Everything’s gotta be wrapped around come central idea; nine times out of ten, it’s some goddamn cartoon or video game.  In this case, Kid Dos wanted a Tintin birthday party.  On the one hand, I am thrilled that he’s taken to Tintin the way I had when I was a kid.  Tintin fucking rules and I won’t take any argument about it.  On the other hand, because Yanks don’t give a shit about Tintin – Spielberg movie or not – there is no merchandising for Tintin.  Which in turn means that I can’t buy any Tintin shit for the party.  Which further means that I’m the one who had to design the Tintin-themed invitation, create Tintin artwork for all the partyware and giveaways, design a Tintin image so that the bakery could print it on some shitty waxy sheet (which will probably poison you if you eat a piece larger than a postage stamp) that they slap on top of a cake.  I had to design every goddamn thing for this party.  There’s gotta be an easier to do these things.  Kids parties drive me nuts.  Never have kids.

The most important film of the year

I’d waited for over a year, but on Friday, “Senna” finally opened here in NY.  Sold out screening – in fact, there was so much demand that at around 10pm, the movie theater decided to add one more screening at midnight.  I’ll bet that got sold out, too.

Of course: it’s goddamn “Senna”.

Admission: I’m a wannabe F1 hipster.  I wish I could say, “I’ve loved watching Ayrton Senna race since day one.”  I wish I was some sort of authority on Senna like a ton of F1 fans are.  But in truth, I got into F1 long after Senna’s demise.  I have no first-hand knowledge about Senna.  I have never watched him race.  I have never watched even a video of a complete race with Senna in it.  I have watched the occasional video highlight, and I’ve read many stories about the man in the early ’90s.  But I cannot claim any first-hand experience on this person who is universally considered the single-greatest racing car driver in the history of mankind.  Certainly in F1.  And for a slightly obsessive F1 fan like myself, there’s a slight hollow feeling from not having “been there” when Senna was racing.

So when this film was announced over a year ago, I was expecting this to help “fill in the gaps”.  I had secretly hoped that it would help me get up to speed on the one driver whom F1 fans still worship, get the inside scoop, be in the know like those who really did watch him race in the early ’90s, those who speak of him like they know him.  I wanted to be as well-informed that those whose fandom pre-date me.  But because I never watched him race, I don’t feel I’ll ever be part of this Senna “inside circle” I’ve conjured up in my head.  Still…

It’s not like we’re talking about an athlete (that’s right, fuck you, racing drivers are athletes, deal with it) who rocked the sport in your grandpa’s day.  It’s not like all the footage of Senna out there is in fuzzy black and white.  Senna was current, Senna was this generation.  Senna, technically, was my generation.

But one of the first things that hit me about the film was the immediate reminder that I have outlived Senna.  Like I’ve outlived all those rock stars in the 27 Club.  He was 34 when he died.  34!!  Fucking hell.

But as the film unfolded, I realized that I’d come into it all wrong.  Here was a film about an F1 driver, right?  F1 film = lots of racing action, lots of grand prix cars fighting it out on the track, lots on loud screaming engines wailing by, that sort of thing.  It’d be like a 100 minute collection of awesome YouTube F1 clips, but in higher quality and on a massive screen.  I thought it’d be an action movie.  I couldn’t be more wrong.  This was a film about the construct of a person.  And not just any person – this was a person who received god-like reverence and fear; who in turn, had such unshakable faith in God that he probably thought that God had made him somewhat immortal.  He raced with absolute abandon.  Of fear, not of responsibility.

The race footage in the film showed me just how frighteningly quick he was.  I never really had a proper appreciation for his ability to really thrash his car around the track and make his rivals look like they were standing still.  I never properly understood just how he overwhelmed the entire sport with his speed.  But what I walked away with most of all was a firm grasp of Senna’s unbending will.  An action movie doesn’t get you these things.  This film was much, much more than that.

This film also showed a side of the sport I had never known – the chaos of pre-race driver briefings, the I-don’t-give-shit attitude drivers had about wanting to race for other teams because they didn’t think their current team was any good, the anxiety drivers openly expressed to their team.

And the anxiety of the audience… watching “Senna” is quite like watching “Titanic”: you know exactly how things are going to turn out in the end.  And the foreshadowing of Senna’s end puts a good and proper knot in your stomach.  You want to reach through the screen when Senna says that he wants to leave McLaren to drive for Williams, grab him, and say, “No, for the love of God, don’t go!”  Your heart sinks the moment Williams announce Senna as their new driver.  The second you see him in that Rothmans-sponsored race suit, it’s like watching a countdown, you know that you’re watching the beginning of the end.  And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  And every second leading up to the moment is agonizing, sad, and frightening, all spun together.

But that said, the dork fan in me also walked away feeling like there were lost moments in the film.  Stuff that I knew about, but wanted to see covered in the film.  Like when Senna walked down the pitlane to punch Eddie Irvine in the face because he’d had the balls to pass him on the track.  The 1993 Donington opening lap.  When Nigel Mansell gave Senna a lift after Senna ran out of fuel on the track.  When Senna pulled over to help another driver who’d crashed.

But that’s not the point, is it.  Those were single episodes in the grander course of Senna’s life.  Interesting markers along the way, not life-defining milestones (OK, maybe the Donington lap – correction, definitely the Donington lap).  Was the film a lesser film for their omissions?  Of course not.  And besides, I was already quite well versed in those episodes.  I needed this film to “fill in the gaps.”  What this film did was explain the meaning of Senna.

This film will inform.  And this film will make your heart bleed.  And that’s why this is the most important film of the year.

I’m one of those idiot adults who genuinely liked Cars.  Anthropomorphic iterations of my favorite inanimate objects?  Sure, why not.  It gave me a great way to connect with my elder kid – then 3 – as I was still fumbling around trying to figure out what the hell do I do with children (I’ve made marginal progress since then, about 0.05%).  He loved it, I fucking love it, and we went on to collect pretty much every fucking diecast model of the cars from that goddamn movie.  I’m not naive, I know how merchandising works, and I run headlong into it when it comes to my kids.  Whatever, I gotta do what I gotta do.

So, when we all heard about the making of Cars 2 a couple of years ago, naturally we got really psyched.  As psyched as kids can be about something they can’t really see yet (“Cars 2? WOW! Oh look, a shiny object over there…”).  Anytime a leaked still or a storyboard sketching made its way to the public, I’d show them to my kids.  I don’t know if I was doing to keep them psyched or to fuck with them.  Either way, the opening weekend came, and I was already having a dreadful feeling about the movie I couldn’t explain.  After seeing it, now I can – here’s why (spoilers, natch):

  • Pixar animators have likely started a cycle now in which live action filming will be fucked forever.  The rendering of textures of things like water and fire are absolutely bewildering.  You actually believe it’s real.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Their ability to animate life-like landscapes – and cityscapes alike – defy comprehension.  Yes, the animated humans are quickly coming, but they’ve still got work to do.  Watching Cars 2 is like watching the death of location shoots.  And if I start running out of reasons to go out to L.A., I’m gonna be pissed off.
  • It took them about five years to not be able to decide what kind of movie to make.  The first Cars movie was simple, straightforward, and made it really simple for kids to track with the story.  Here you’ve for some fucking spy caper wrapped up in some horseshit environmental agenda, with some semblance of a racing movie, further skewered with some horrendously disingenuous “just be yourself” message.  My younger kid actually got bored halfway through the movie.  How the fuck do you make a kids’ movie in which a 4 year-old gets bored halfway through it?
  • When we left the movie theater, I asked the kids what their favorite parts of the movie were.  Both of them, with no hesitation: “The guns.”  WTMF.  Is this Cars or Funnybot?  Literally, like Funnybot, there is a scene involving a pair of gatling guns and a mountain of spent shells.  Now, I’m all for violence in cartoons, I think it’s hilarious.  And it teaches the kids something.  I don’t know what, but look at how much Tom & Jerry we all watched and most of us turned out OK (I may be overestimating here).  Anyway, with Tom & Jerry, the violence was inventive, thought out, and screamed with variety.  In Cars 2, leaving much of the action to weapons is just fucking lazy writing.
  • Eddie Izzard was a complete waste in this movie.  Even the writers of the excruciating Ocean’s 12 or 13 knew how to squeeze in a bit of his stand-up references in the scripts (“Gunther?!”).  He had none of that.  Just a humorless wank of a role that might as well have been played by that Harry Potter kid – not Daniel Radcliffe, the ginger one whose name no one can ever remember, him.  Even someone like Michael Caine wasn’t given any nuggets to work with.  Would it be that hard to work in the line, “You’re a big car, but you’re in bad shape. With me it’s a full time job. Now behave yourself”?
  • The new characters are completely unlikable.  The kids like the F1 car, Francesco Bernoulli.  And let’s face it, they like him because he’s an F1 car.  And they like an F1 car because their dad eats, lives, and breathes F1.   There were no really interesting cameos like the previous movie (except maybe Lewis Hamilton?  But he’s a bit of a dick, so fuck him).  As for the old cars, they made them complete douchebags.  It was basically the Mater movie, and how much Larry The Cable Guy can you listen to before you want stab your ears with rusty spoons?  Any affection you felt for the characters from the old movie goes right out the window after you watch how tepid and completely uninteresting they’ve become in this new movie.
  • They couldn’t get the cast to agree on how to pronounce “grand prix”.  Nothing shreds my ear more than listening to the Amurrcan pronunciation of “grand prix”.  It’s a fucking French word, pronounce it the way it’s supposed to be pronounced.  You’ve got half the cast pronouncing it correctly, and then you’ve all the Yank voice actors saying “graynd pree” the rest of the time.  Fuck off, learn to pronounce it correctly, and for fuck’s sake, Lasseter, put some effort into some consistency in the dialogue.  Lazy wank.

Of course, I know this won’t be the end of it.  My kids will invariably beg for all the merchandising, ask to buy the DVD the minute it’s out – even the 4 year-old – and then we’ll be subject to this whole ordeal all over again.  Oh, I can’t wait.