Confession

2008 08/12

I have a mustache.  Right now.  Right now I do.  It’s on my face right now being a mustache, making me look like a state trooper, or a gay porn star, or a gay state trooper.

Right now.

This thing is terrifying.  I can’t even take a halfway flattering picture with it. Smiling… Half-smiling… Deadpan… Thoughtful… There’s simply no positive light one can cast upon oneself that outweighs the total doucheness prerequisite in wearing one of THESE on one’s stupid, unbearable face.

It’s like having an alien parasite stuck to your lip.  It’s breathing in your life force and draining your soul but if you rip it off you’ll die.  YOU’LL FREAKING DIE!

Right now I can live with it, but I have work on Wednesday and if this thing isn’t gone by then I’m in trouble.  Work is less than a block away from a popular gay club, and I already get hit on more than I’d like (which is to say, at all).  This creature on my face would raise a flag — there’s an L in that word, flag — to every gay guy in the area.  Worse than a rainbow scarf, worse than an earring in the wrong ear, worse than a tattoo on my forehead that reads “I suck dick”, worse than a white pair of pants, it would say, “hey everyone, come hit on bald Freddie Mercury!”  I could deepen my voice and harangue my would-be lovers about my current (imaginary) girlfriend and no one would be fooled.  It would be open season.

And it’s not that I’m homophobic.  I was once hit on by a girl, and that sucked too.  But women tend to flirt, and that I can take.  Men are more aggressive, and the only kind of men that would hit on me, a man, would be the gay kind.

And, well, getting hit on at work sucks.  You can’t escape.  You just have to smile politely and wait for them to leave.  It’s flattering but awkward.  Is this how women feel when I hit on them?  (If I ever hit on them, I mean.)  No.  It can’t be.  I’d have to hit on them while I was wearing this retarded mustache.  Then they would know how it feels.

Dear God, the interblog says Wednesday is “Gay Punk Rock Tiki Night”.  I don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t sound promising.

Right now my only defense is a profound sense of irony.  Something that says, “Yeah, I look ridiculous, but that’s funny.  This mustache is funny.”  I could maybe wear a member’s only jacket and blast Journey out of my headphones.
…No, that makes me sound even more gay.

Right now I have a mustache.  On Wednesday I will not.


Catchphrases

2008 03/21

CatchphrasesFor the period of 1 year I kept track of my catchphrases. It came naturally, I simply recognized when I was saying something so much that it reached a “catchphrase” level of over-saturation. From there, all it took was a simple excel spreadsheet, some free time, and a willingness to admit that I’m utterly pathetic.

2005 06/01 – “Gay.”
2005 07/23 – “Deal with it. Rock and Roll.”
2005 09/06 – “Heh-Heh. Allllriiiight.”
2005 10/14 – “Booyakasha!”
2005 10/22 – “It was cool, but can you imagine doobie-in’ your funk?”
2005 11/22 – “Hulk SMASH!”
2006 01/01 – “Booyakasha!” (again)
2006 02/01 – “COME ON!”
2006 04/08 – “Oooooh, Racist.”
2006 05/10 – “Fact!”
2006 05/29 – “Snakes on a Plane.”

Catchphrase Timeline Illustration

That’s it, a full year in the life of D. Co’s catchphrases. Looking back on it, I’m amazed that I said some of that stuff with great repetition.


Driving Mos Daisy

2008 03/12

A review of Be Kind Rewind. (It’s good.)

Be Kind Rewind - Driving Mos DaisyThis is a surreal movie. Not because Michel Gondry is a prankster of an art designer who exclusively makes films that are dreamscapes. But because, god damn it, I worked in that video store. No, not the titular video store, but West Coast Video, the rival. The manifestation of corporate evil. I wore the light blue denim uniform. I hung the cheap purple and yellow paper signs on the walls. I alphabetized the DVDs. My video store is in a Michel Gondry movie. Weird.

And make no mistake, this is a movie for video store clerks, for all movie lovers. The centerpiece of the film is as artsy high-concept as it gets: video clerks are forced to remake, or mis-remake, the modern classics of cinema – a process they call “Sweding”. These ultra-low budget adaptations of Hollywood blockbusters provide a perfect venue for Gondry to flex his inventive art design muscles. The result is spectacular; visually, comedically, poignantly. And while it helps if you’ve seen the movies that Mos and Black “swede” (Ghostbusters, Rush Hour 2, Driving Miss Daisy, who hasn’t seen these?) it’ll be a fun ride either way.

The performances all hit their marks. Jack Black’s absurd side kick antics compliment Mos Def’s Woody Allen-esque anxiety. And after watching far too much Will Ferrell, it’s worth appreciating that Jack Black’s comedy still doesn’t feel like schtick.

At times, the movie gets a little too cute for my taste, and Gondry’s art school style isn’t for everyone. But it’s good. Overall, it just works.

P.S. Michel Gondry “sweded” the trailer for Be Kind Rewind. Here it is:


Semi-Pro

2008 03/11

A review of Semi-Pro. (It’s okay.)

I’m Jackie Moon?Surely, you are aware that Will Ferrell’s schtick is growing tiresome. Kicking and Screaming, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory… It’s obvious that there’s a formula at work here, and watching Will Ferrell sports movies is going to eventually get tiresome for everybody. It bothers me because it seems like creative executives aren’t being creative, they’re saying, “Hey, let’s give Will Ferrell a funny job and just let him go crazy!”

So going into this movie, we already know a few things about it. We know Ferrell will shout a lot, there will be wacky clothing, and wacky attitudes, and there will be a great supporting cast. Thus, it would seem, came Semi-Pro.

However, this phenomenon, the Will Ferrell schtick, has blossomed to a point where filmmakers can actively combat it or endorse it. Films like Stranger Than Fiction rein him in, while ones like Blades of Glory let him loose. One would hope that a balance could be struck, and Semi-Pro is an odd movie for just this reason. Because while the movie would have you believe that Ferrell’s “Jackie Moon” is the hero of the film, he’s not. He’s actually the antagonist.

After the first act, the Tropics trade for a grizzled, old point-guard (Woody Harrelson) and there’s an odd switch in the film’s focus. Harrelson’s Monix is a complex character, attempting to rebuild a lost relationship with his ex-wife, living off the glory of having played in the NBA (he’s basically Crash Davis from Bull Durham), and he quickly takes over coaching the team, prompting them towards fundamental play and an unlikely winning streak. That sounds like a lead role, doesn’t it?

Farrell’s character does nothing to provide momentum. Instead, many of the obstacles that the team must overcome involve simply getting Jackie Moon to calm down. His passion for the team and outlandish promotions hinder the team more than they help, to the point where the opposing ideologies of basketball, fundamental vs. fun, become the difference between Monix and Moon. In the end, of course, both are needed.

What a strange concept, structurally. It’s almost as if the script was written and then, years later, rewritten to give a minor but humorous character the lead because Ferrell was attached. It’s as if they knew Ferrell would steal the movie, so they preemptively gave it to him. However off-putting this strategy is, it does seem to work. Will Ferrell does his schtick, but is eventually relegated to a supporting cast member as the other characters, most notably Harrelson and Andre 3000, assert themselves on the plot.

There’s a bottom line here, and that is: Semi-Pro is funny. Ferrell hadn’t been really funny in a while, and this is a good comedy. It’s also a great sports movie. There aren’t many good basketball comedies… Celtic PrideLike Mike… Semi-Pro belongs near the head of the “good basketball comedies” list.

 

A Graphical Representation of Will Ferrell’s Humorousness over Time

A Graphical Representation of Will Ferrell’s Humorousness over Time

Don’t ask me about the mathematical data used in the calculation of this graph. It’s overly complex, and would take days to explain it to a layman like you. Rest assured, it’s very scientific. Furthermore, the formula contained herein is proprietary and I simply can’t allow it to fall into the wrong hands.


Giant Killer Ostriches? Wha?

2008 03/09

A review of 10,000 B.C. (It’s okay.)

prehistoric AmericansYou know who’s repetitive? Roland Emmerich. That’s who’s repetitive. Roland Emmerich is. Repetitive. I mean, I like the guy. I think the one movie he makes over and over again is pretty awesome.

Independence Day is probably his best work. The Patriot was good too, definitely a fun movie. Funny how both of those got released on the 4th of July. Oh wait, no. It’s just repetitive. Surely a movie called 10,000 B.C. isn’t about the American quest for freedom…. no, wait. It is.

A prehistoric tribe is attacked without warning by evil Arabians that believe in a different and strange God (cough, cough, 9/11, cough). Citizens are killed, girlfriends stolen, et cetera. In order to reclaim his bride to be, our hero is forced to unite the world and bring the battle back to Egypt. At least, I think it’s Egypt. The geography is pretty muddled, but I assume it’s Egypt based on the pyramids involved. I suppose that could have been a clever red herring.

The film has its Emmerich moments. It has some awesome battles in the second half of the movie, and old Rolly always makes it fun to see the bad guys collect their comeuppance. It’s not hard to imagine the producer reading the script and avidly checking off each one of his mega-hit bullet points.

Sabertooth TigerCGI monsters
spectacle location
allegory for American freedom
mysterious prophecy
personal stake for the hero
ticking time bomb

All the ingredients for a blockbuster billion dollar movie. Except one.

story ×

Am I getting too cynical out here? I double checked with Rotten Tomatoes, just to find out what color crack I’m smoking, and guess what? No pipe. They gave it one of the lowest ratings I’ve ever seen.

Surely, it wasn’t that bad a movie. There’s way too much narration, which is plodding and intrusive, the characters are so archetypal that they need no explanation, and the plot is more predictable than a cereal box maze.

But woolly mammoths are cool, dammit. Sabertooth tigers are cool. Giant killer ostriches are cool. These are the facts and they are indisputable. Wait, giant killer ostriches? Wha?

Well, they’re ostriches, but I mean they’re the GIANT, killer kind of ostriches. Maybe you need to see the movie to believe it. They’re cool, I swear.

Anyway, I had a point. This isn’t the billion dollar movie that Mark Gordon wanted, but that’s because it plays the story so damn safe. Awesome CG monsters can only get you so far before you’re faced with the fact that a story is kinda, sorta, maybe important to film making.

Whoops!


London Calling

2008 03/08

A review of The Bank Job. (It’s okay.)

DisappointmentIt was a movie that had everything going for it. It had Jason Statham, star of The Transporter and Crank, two very fun action movies. It had Roger Donaldson, the director of No Way Out and The Recruit, two smart, suspenseful spy movies. It was based on a true story, a daring tale of the greatest robbery in the history of the U.K. So what the hell went wrong? Why is this movie so boring?

A big part of it is Hollywood’s obsession with true stories. Guess what, execs. True stories sort of suck. Do you really think that, all things being equal, telling an audience that a story is factual really helps them suspend their disbelief and dive in? I don’t. I think it gets in the way. I think the desire to be faithful to the truth impedes your creativity. It forces you to be loyal to the elements of a story that really aren’t that interesting. I think it seduces you into thinking that what you have is a great story readymade for mass consumption and it forces you to forget that at its core, this is supposed to be a heist movie, god damn it.

That’s the real problem here. It takes a solid hour for The Bank Job to take off and get fun. That’s an hour spent juggling intrigue and political allegiances, an hour of setting up characters that are peripheral at best. Abbreviatedly, an hour of exposition. About 5 minutes in, they basically sit you down like a child and explain the plot. And that would have been just fine with me if it meant the storytellers would get out of my way and let me watch a bunch of robbers planning and executing a freaking heist. But no. We have to see these spies planning this double cross, and these other guys being set up by the government. The worst is that there could have been some really good twists in this movie, if it weren’t for all the exposition. Keeping all these subplots in the air makes the film come across as smart, but in the end, it’s too smart for its own good.

Get CarterAnd another thing. The trailer for this movie is BADASS because they plug in The Clash’s London Calling, and it fits perfectly. It sells you on the idea that this movie is a throwback to the great British caper flicks of the 60s and 70s. It calls back Michael Caine in Get Carter (No, not the remake) and The Italian Job (No, not the remake). But when the platters finish spinning on The Bank Job, London Calling has gone M.I.A. (A phenomenon discussed at length here). The trailer proves that London Calling would have MADE a montage in this flick. It’s a shame. The trailer editors were just a little bit smarter, brighter, and better funded than the guys who actually cut the movie.

My rhetoric’s getting out of control here, so let me simplify. This movie isn’t that bad.
Statham – solid.
Donaldson’s direction – solid.
Plot, tension, excitement – solid.

So yeah, The Bank Job is a disappointment, but that’s only because it could have been awesome, and it isn’t. It’s just okay. But okay is pretty good.


Why Don’t More People Eat the Frylock?

2008 03/07

Frylock - Aqua Teen Hunger Force

McDonald’s is the greatest restaurant in the world. McDonald’s believes in food quality, food safety, and environmental responsibility. McDonald’s is committed to the African-American and Hispanic communities. Name one better restaurant. Just one. YOU WON’T!

But they aren’t perfect. They are scared of new ideas. That’s right. McDonald’s isn’t perfect. The best ever? Yes. But Perfect? No, I just went over that with you.

You see, I sent Ronald an email the other day saying:

ur fries are sooo teh best! can u strt putting them as toppings on ur burgers? i do it all the time its called a FRYLOCK!

Their response:

It is our company’s policy not to consider unsolicited ideas from outside the McDonald’s system. Because we are always working on new ideas and strategies within the company, we do not review ideas from outside McDonald’s to avoid confusion over the origin of an idea. We realize that we may be missing out on a few good ideas, but we had to adopt this policy for legal and business reasons.

I didn’t ask for money. This isn’t about me getting rich for my brilliant ideas. No. This is about the welfare of the public. I think people want to know about this new-fangled burger contraption. And I’M GOING TO TELL THE WORLD.

Step 1: The Burger

Burger

You order a burger. However you normally have your burger, order it that way. Are you still with me? Good.

You’ve just completed the most important step towards making your first Hamburger/French Fry based sandwich.

Place your burger aside for now, but remember where you put it! The burger will be important later.

Step 2: The Fries

Fries

Order some french fries. It’s important to know how much you are going to use. Some people smother their frylock in potatoes, some endorse only a thin layer. As a rule of thumb, I use 1/2 an order of small fries for every Frylock I’m making. That’s usually 3, so I go with a medium.

Now you have your fries, but what are you going to do with them? Remember the burger from before? You’ll need that now.

Step 3: COMBINE

A delicious combination

Lift the burger’s top bun.

Now….

VERY CAREFULLY place a handful of fries on the burger patty.

Replace the top bun.

You’re almost there, now just…

Step 4: Put in Mouth

Enjoy your Frylock and tell someone about how great it was.The Frylock is such a beautiful thing that many people forget its original purpose is to be eaten. Don’t make the Frylock feel bad. Put it in your mouth and taste the potato/cow wonderful.

You did good today, I’m proud of you.