Friday, August 05, 2005

Thursday's movie

Last night we watched House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price. We'd seen it before but this version is the new DVD with commentary by Mike Nelson from Mystery Science Theater 3000. (Do I really need to type that out? Most folks reading this are likely to know what MST3K means.) It's a fun, silly movie, a William Castle classic starring Price and as Nelson points out, the guy from TV's The Big Valley and Robert Mitchum's sister. The commentary was the reason we picked up this DVD and Carnival of Souls; they're in the Off Color Films series from Legend Films that also includes Reefer Madness. We rented that one a few weeks back and had some good laughs from that. Sometimes a goofy, 85-minute movie is the best medicine for a stressful day. You know, instead of pot, which is stinky and far less legal.

Off Color Films does colorized versions of their movies, but they're creatively colorized so they're just enhancing the picture a little without pretending this is the color the filmmakers always intended and they totally would've shot in color if the poor saps had been able to do so, a la Ted Turner. All the DVDs have the option of watching the film in the original black and white. It defaults to color when the commentary track is on, or you can select the colorized version for normal viewing. They have fun with the colors; in Reefer Madness, the puffs of smoke coming from the teenaged dope fiends are tinted in a variety of non-standard smoke hues, like green and pink. Each disc contains a short video on how they acheive their colorization, but I haven't watched it yet.

We'll probably see Carnival of Souls this weekend sometime, and they still have Reefer Madness and the remake of Night of the Living Dead for sale, but we haven't snagged those yet. Technically, House on Haunted Hill won't be released for another month, but you can order one autographed by Mike Nelson and have it shipped now. I don't profit from any of this, but their product has my free endorsement.

I (heart) numbers

I added a counter to the bottom of the page. Waaaaaay at the bottom. If people are accidentally surfing in looking for hlodnik recipes or something, I want to know about it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Fun with Google's Satellite Maps

This is a map of the neighborhood where I grew up. The flag is supposed to point at the actual house, but it's actually pointing at the house next door. Ours was the greyish, square roof just to the left of the flag. A lot of the addresses in San Angelo weren't correct (they were WAY off on my grandmother's old house and it couldn't even locate the address of our second house, which I found manually), but you can zoom in closer than you can on locations in some of the larger cities.

It's wild how much I can see in these satellite photos. I went to a Catholic school for kindergarten and 1st grade, and I can see that the huge field behind the playground there isn't a field anymore. There's a big building there now, and from their website, it looks like it's now a youth center. I'm pretty sure I was able to identify the Weinerschnitzel that was near our house. It was easy to find McGill Elementary, the best school I ever attended, and to identify the restaurants across the street -- Pizza Hut and a Mexican place called Henry's Diner -- that used to taunt us with their delicious smells during outdoor P.E. classes. There was also a Dunkin' Donuts, but I think it's gone now. Yes, I was always obsessed with food.

A little experiment

I want to try posting a picture, and then make it my profile photo. Here goes:

Ah, zing! Well now I've learned something incredibly easy. Go, me. That's Alex Ross' Black Canary poster, as seen at

Tuesday's Movie of the Day: KINSEY

Tuesday night we had time to watch another one of our DVD rentals, so we saw Kinsey. Good stuff, and I'm sure everything intelligent I could say about the film has been said better somewhere else, so I'm going to channel my inner thirteen year old and stick to silly details:

1. I didn't recognize former terrible Robin Chris O'Donnell at first. I think it was the lack of being surrounded by a crappy movie that threw me off.

2. John Lithgow has resurrected his character from Footloose, but now he's tragic and has a moustache. He's also only seven years older than Liam Neeson. I had to look up the difference, but I knew it was pretty close. Doesn't really matter, but that sort of thing always tickles me.

3. It will always and forever amuse me to see Tim Curry play prudish characters, because even as a little kid watching him in Annie: The Movie, I felt like he exuded dangerous-but-appealing sexuality, kept barely under the surface if at all. I didn't really know what that meant when I was seven, but I felt it anyway. I just thought of it as "Teehee I have a little crush on him, and I don't know why since his character is openly sleazy." Now he's pushing 60 and I still have that thing for him, even though I'm pretty sure I'm not his type, chromosomally-speaking.

4. Liam Neeson is extra hot.

5. Whenever I see Laura Linney, I still think of her in the made-for-TV adaptation of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City. Same thing for Thomas Gibson, aka Greg from Dharma & Greg.

It's amazing to think how much Kinsey's research and reports affected America's ideas and attitudes about sex, and yet I look around and I don't think we were affected nearly enough. I suppose progress takes time, and it seems like a two steps forward, one step back sort of process.

LOST and other TV fun

We had to skip watching a movie last night due to an unforeseen family pow-wow at the assisted living center where my great-grandparents live (long, depressing story with moments of black comedy). When we finally got home we only had time to watch Lost before we had to go to sleep. We missed Lost when it started last season but ABC started replaying the season this summer so we're getting caught up. They're starting to skip some of the less arc-heavy episodes so we had a magic TV gnome provide us with the rest of the season. We should be able to watch the whole thing before the new season starts, and we couldn't wait for the DVD set to come out a month from now. I'm sure we'll pick it up at some point anyway, but I like my instant TV gratification. TiVo has spoiled me, and I don't care.

Hooray, we like having new TV shows to watch. We got hooked on Veronica Mars this season too so we have plenty to look forward to this fall. Hopefully Smallville will not have another season of Sucksville now that they're not stuck with that high school dynamic and they can just go to college, which involves a lot of skipping class in favor of catching matinees if I recall my university days correctly.

All this and we're still trying to watch bunches of movies. More on that in a bit. Or above, if you're not reading this as soon as I post.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I wish I'd applied for this job

At this link, in an entry for February 26, Meredith posted about the search for the new Vice President of the Dukes of Hazzard Institute at CMT. They've found a winner, and he's from Austin. Cushiest job ever! Article here.

A movie a day

We're on a quest to watch at least one movie per day. We're really shooting for five movies per week since it isn't always feasible to watch one every day, but we're averaging out pretty good so far with a really eclectic range of movies. I'm going to try to blog about what I watch. I don't have our movie log handy at the moment, but I may post the list-so-far later on. Hubby calls the log our "dream journal" because he finds that term hilarious, so that's your glossary if I write it later and you're confused.

Last night we started with Starsky & Hutch, which was funnier than I thought it would be. I'll watch anything with Vince Vaughn in it, and I've been pretty happy with the "Frat Pack" movies of the last five years or so. It's good to see Juliette Lewis working, even in small parts. She had a funny bit at the beginning of Old School too. More on some of the Frat Pack movies later; we've watched several recently and probably have a few more in our near future because Vince Vaughn = super hot. Yeah, I'm 13.

I mentioned the remake of The Bad News Bears in the post below. It's a fun movie. We saw it last week when we were in Austin and I just saw the original last night after Starsky & Hutch and the remake is very faithful, maybe better in some ways. Hubby says it benefits quite a bit from modern pacing, which is true but I can't really fault a 1976 movie for feeling like it was made when it was. It made me sort of sad that Tatum O'Neal's career didn't really go anywhere when she grew up. I think I'm going to have to rent Paper Moon too.

I think the major improvement is in the Coach Buttermaker character. He's fleshed out a little more in the remake, which I like. Billy Bob Thornton is a little less of an Old Man than Walter Matthau (who was born approximately 68 years old) and his character is a little more involving here. The original functions just fine without it, but sometimes there's room for improvement. It's also good to see kids in a modern movie who aren't just cute little Dakota Fanning-style moppets, kids who talk like the kids did when I was growing up (i.e. lots of name-calling and naughty words). Somewhere along the line the movies lost that, and they seem less realistic for it. We never talked that way around (most) adults, but when it was kids-only everybody was trying out to be a junior Eddie Murphy. You know, back when he was funny and raunchy and not the star of god-awful "family" movies.

Is that a bag of bacon?

The link above goes to a news story entitled "Low-Carb Pioneer Atkins Files Chapter 11", to which I say: ha ha, suckers. Sounds like most of the folks who thought that Atkins crap was a good idea have migrated back into the world of recreational bacon-ingesting and have stopped pretending it's a health plan. Too bad, I figured it would solve the Social Security crisis when half the country did a quick die-off from heart attacks.

I'm kidding of curse. I'm glad people are giving up Atkins because it's incredibly unhealthy and being alive and healthy is a very good thing. Stupid-ass diet fads.

Oh, the headline on this post is a quote from Richard Linklater's remake of The Bad News Bears, where this time the heavy kid who plays catcher is on Atkins, with predictably non-existent results. See the post above for more on the movie.