Friday, August 26, 2005

Color Me Brokke

This article amused me. It's not funny that Bryan Abrams, former lead singer of Color Me Badd, is a deadbeat dad; that's obviously terrible. It's funny because the article reveals that he is now employed at a tire store in Oklahoma City.

He apparently released a solo album in 2001, but I'm guessing it didn't rake in the kind of fat cash you need to not work in a tire store. His ex-wife said that he "long ago spent all the money he made during his Color Me Badd days: 'He has nothing to show for it, except the ASCAP publishing he co-owns with other members of the group.'" For the sake of his kid, somebody needs to make a commercial or something that uses "I Want to Sex You Up" to sell paper towels or something. They could change it to "I Want to Soak You Up" and then maybe his kid could get some damn child support.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blah blah watched movies blah blah

Sunday night we watched the original Cape Fear from 1962. Pretty rough content for that time, or at least the way we think of that time. I saw the remake several years ago and HATED it, but I always heard the original was good and it was. Somehow it managed to be far less exploitive and generally negative toward women than the version from the '90s. Good stuff though; I always like Gregory Peck.

Monday night we watched 1969's Astro Zombies, a movie which made almost no sense at all. It was co-written and produced by Wayne Rogers, who played Trapper John on MASH. The other writer-producer also directed, and that was Ted V. Mikels, who also directed The Girl in Gold Boots (which you probably saw on MST3K if you saw it at all) and a whole slew of movies like The Corpse Grinders and Blood Orgy of the She Devils. You know how some movies pad their running time with unnecessary scenes of driving from place to place, or people dancing? This movie has several really egregious examples of this. I didn't mind looking out a car window at 1969 Los Angeles as seen from the freeway for a few minutes, and I laughed at the totally gratuitous dance by a naked woman covered in body paint that lasted at least two minutes, which is a very long time in Movie World. However, the gold medal in Time Killing goes to the scene in which two men convince a woman (it truly doesn't matter who they are or how they know each other) that she needs to allow herself to be bait for the monster. No, I'm sorry, the Astro Zombie. They spend a few minutes trying to talk her into it, and ultimately she decides to go ahead and do it. Then, the Big Scene: she sits, waiting for the Astro Zombie to come after her so the guys can kill it. She waits, the guys wait. Eventually...NOTHING HAPPENS. The Astro Zombie never shows and they just shrug it off like "oh well, I guess that didn't work." End of scene! Totally pointless! These scenes in no way contributed to the overall "plot". They didn't affect the rest of the story in the slightest, nor did the provide any insight into the characters. WTF?! Poor John Carradine slogs through his scenes the best he can, providing tons of exposition that in no way improves the movie. In the end, there is a brief burst of cheap gore effects, and then the movie's just over. If you love horrible movies, this one doesn't disappoint.

Last night I watched Sideways, which was such a big deal last winter. I thought it was a nice character piece and it made me want to drink a bunch of wine, but I still don't care about learning about wine and I'm not sure it lived up to the hype. It shouldn't have to though; the hype isn't relevant to the actual movie. It was deservedly well-reviewed, and I'd be thrilled to pieces if I wrote a movie like that. So I guess it was Really Good but not Totally Awesome.

Hmm, now maybe I'll have to invent my own ratings scale...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Movies, movies, movies

Wednesday night we finally watched Lost in Translation. We actually rented it once before but every time we tried to watch it we were thwarted. That's happened to me twice with Wait Until Dark and I've still never seen it! Anyway, it's a great movie. Way better than Sofia Coppola's other movie, The Virgin Suicides. I hated that thing.

Bill Murray is so awesome. He could've just been "that guy from Ghostbusters" for his whole career, but I'm glad it didn't turn out that way. I loved him in Ed Wood too, but then I adore that whole movie.

Thursday night we watched Top Secret. When I was about nine I was friends with a girl who liked that movie and talked about it a lot, but I never saw it until this week and I wasn't overly impressed with it. Maybe it would've been better if I was nine. The thing I enjoyed the most was all the extremely dated references, especially to things that don't exist anymore, like Montgomery Ward and East Germany. Also, Val Kilmer was like 12 in that movie. What happened to him anyway? He's practically disappeared from movies.

Friday night we watched Cradle Will Rock, which was pretty good. They don't make very many rabble-rousing "Union Yes!" movies anymore, but I guess it's not surprising that if someone was going to make one, it would be Tim Robbins. I'm beginning to suspect he's kind of liberal. The movie is a somewhat fictionalized account of a production of a very pro-labor musical called The Cradle Will Rock that was nearly put on in 1937 by the Federal Theater Project, which was part of the WPA. The Project was shut down by Congress when it was suspected that they had been infiltrated by Communists, and the government sent armed guards to shut down the play. Fortunately, the play's producers were John Houseman and some guy named Orson Welles, who wasn't a big fan of people telling him what he couldn't do and who was about 21 at the time, so he hadn't yet taken on Hearst and lost. The show did go on, performed in an ultimate act of guerrilla theater, and if the true story is anything like how it is in the movie, I'm surprised the incident isn't common knowledge. Oh, Bill Murray is in this movie too. Everyone is in this movie. Tenacious D is in there too.

After that we watched The Last Temptation of Christ, which I guess makes Friday night "Movies My Parents Would Hate Night". Hey, those are usually the best movies. This movie really knocked me out. I understand why some people were upset by it, because those particular people really enjoy being upset by things and really don't enjoy people asking questions or trying to have an intelligent discussion about the fragile, spun-sugar web of beliefs they've constructed and built their lives on. In Catholic school they drill it into your head that Jesus was supposed to be both fully God and fully human (good ol' 200% Jesus, the kids in his neighborhood surely called him), but then they totally freak if you suggest that he might have had human thoughts and impulses.

Long before the movie was released back in 1988, there was a huge controversy about its content and my parents received countless newsletters about how horrible and blasphemous it was. I was fascinated by all of it and read everything I could about it. My parents were so proud of me because I was such a good citizen, staying informed about the things Hollywood and Universal Pictures and that awful Martin Scorsese fellow were saying, but really it was my first exposure to anything that even mentioned ideas that were outside my parents' fundamentalist beliefs. Those crappy newsletters weren't a very good information source, but in a roundabout way they pointed me toward good discussions elsewhere. I got to read some interviews with Scorsese and Willem Dafoe discussing their feelings about the material and it started me on the path toward not inheriting my parents' uninformed, reactionary dumbassitude. Thanks, poorly Xeroxed newsletters!

After all this time, I still hadn't seen the movie. I figured I'd like it, but I didn't realize how effective it really is and how the elements that really should have been controversial were never mentioned by the film's opponents, probably because none of them ever bothered to see it. Now if I ever meet Martin Scorsese, I'll go nuts gushing over this movie and I'll probably totally forget until later that I also really like Goodfellas. The DVD is a Criterion edition, so there's a commentary track and other goodies on there too. I won't have time to watch it before we have to return the DVD, but it's on my "To Buy" list now anyway. Note: Bill Murray is not in Last Temptation, presumably because he was busy being in Scrooged.

Saturday afternoon I watched Bend It Like Beckham while I folded a mountain of laundry. It's a cute movie, sort of similar to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It has a great soundtrack, as does Sky High, which we just saw tonight. Good times, good times.