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Showing posts from April, 2008

A Room With a View

These days, commentary tracks are becoming more and more of a tipping point for me between buying or renting a DVD. I rent way more than I buy, but for the movies that I rented once, liked, but didn't totally fall in love with, I straddle the fence about buying later down the line. If I find a gently used copy a movie with a great commentary track for dirt cheap, I'll pick it up, even if the movie is not in my Top 100 favorites. Amazing how far a great commentary track will go for me. Case in point, Eli Roth's films. Despite initially saying I didn't want to see Hostel or Hostel: Part II , I saw them. As grossed out as I was with certain scenes (and didn't necessarily find them to be great movies), I thought they were good movies overall. What totally sold me were the multiple commentary tracks for each film. Informative and entertaining, I found listening to them to be very worthwhile. Roth's solo commentary tracks for all of his films document how he got int

Sounds like work

Just thought I'd share some video clips found online that have made me laugh hard. Really hard. Usually I write some long tirade about why I like what I like, but I can't seem to come up with exactly why I like these. Maybe it's just the absurdity. First, Jason showed me this clip from Music Idol , the American Idol for Bulgaria. Laughing hysterically at the garbled English in this interpretation of the Badfinger-penned, popularized by Harry Nilsson in 1972 and Mariah Carey in 1994, song, "Without You," then I come to find a follow-up performance, as well as a Wikipedia page for "Ken Lee." Wow. Also, thanks to Frank , I was reminded of this spoof of the Mr. T. cartoon from the Eighties. "If you believe in yourself, drink your school, stay in drugs, and don't do milk, you can get work." Priceless.

It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends.

Today, Eric posted a fourth collection of songs considered emo/post-hardcore from the Nineties. This time it's at a crucial turning point between underground visibility and mainstream visibility. I pinpoint 1999 as a major turning point since the Get Up Kids' Something to Write Home About , the Promise Ring's Very Emergency , and Jimmy Eat World's Clarity were all released that year. By 2001, with the crossover, platinum success of Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American , things have not been the same, for better or for worse. I don't blame people who don't follow music like I do to just gloss over the transition years between Nevermind , Dookie , OK Computer , and Bleed American . However, a big motivating factor for me is to remind people that nothing really happens overnight or out of thin air. There's something to be said whenever I talk with people who were involved in some form or fashion with post-hardcore/emo, hardcore, and/or pop-punk in the mid-

Tonight or night

I don't mean to slight the wonderful, Eric Carmen-fronted Raspberries, but something I've wondered about ever since I received Overnight Sensation: the Very Best of the Raspberries involves a frequent lyric. Seems Mr. Carmen likes things at night . . . and preferably just at night. ---- ". . . just how it feels at night to have to stand inside my shoes," from "Don't Wanna Say Goodbye." "Please, go all the way/it feels so right/being with you here tonight ," from "Go All the Way." "I can’t sleep nights /wishing you were here beside me," "Baby let’s pretend that tonight could live forever," and "but for now let me just spend the night with you," from "Let's Pretend." "If we were older/we wouldn't have to be worried tonight ," "Well tonight's ( tonight ) the night ," and "Hold me tight/Our love could live forever after tonight ," from "I Wann

The Shape of Things to Come

This was completely unexpected, but once I saw it online this morning, I was quite pleased to see it: an interview with LOST writers/producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof conducted by Noel for the A.V. Club . The interview doesn't really fetch for the spoiler-hungry crowd (which is good, as there are plenty of those articles found here and here almost every day), but I personally enjoyed reading it. Plus, a big question behind the show's pace was answered (even though it was hinted in a podcast last year, but seems to be spelled out here): why did the first half of Season 3 seem a little slow to get off the ground? The most liberating and significant event that's happened for us was getting an end date for the show, negotiated with the studio and the network. Before that, Damon and I didn't know if the mythology we'd created was supposed to sustain us over two seasons or six seasons, so it was very hard for us to do any sort of planning. Plus, in particular

"Public opinion has a way of changing."

On one of the bonus features found on the Evil Dead 3-disc "Ultimate" edition, Bruce Campbell mentions how he realized how much had changed when a movie like Evil Dead could be found for sale at K-Mart. Evil Dead probably would have never shown up in a regular, retail store during its initial release. Though not as controversial as it was overseas (where it was consider a video nasty ), it was not something you could say had a wide audience. If anything, the amount of gore and violence in the film still turns people off -- while others love that stuff. In hopes that I don't sound like a future member of the Uptight and Humorless Adults Who Think Children Are Idiots club, I found things to be odd when I saw A Clockwork Orange on sale at Target over the weekend. It's been reported/debated for quite some time as to why retailers like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target won't carry CDs carrying a "Parental Advisory" sticker while they carry R-rated movies on

Sugar Coated Sour

I've seen a number of great shows at the Ridglea Theater. The best show I've ever seen was there (Fugazi in 2002), and I had not seen a show that powerful, chaotic and inspiring since. Well, that changed last Friday night. With all due respect to Shaolin Death Squad, Dear Life, and the Bled, I was there to see the mighty Dillinger Escape Plan. And I got my money's worth, to say the least. From the live clips I'd seen on YouTube and the Miss Machine DVD, I didn't see a radically different set-up. But that's OK. What I saw was pure fun and insanity during their 60-minute set. Playing a nice mix of their three records (especially Miss Machine and Ire Works ), the band's schizoid progressive hardcore did not get old. To me, at least. Lit mostly by backlights and a light in Gil's bass drum, the guys ripped through the songs at speeds clocking faster than the speeds on the records. Couple that with Ben and Jeff throwing their guitars around, along with ge

Turn your mind off

I once knew somebody who often asked me, "Why can't you just turn your mind off when you watch a movie?" I just couldn't, and to this day, I still fully can't. The moviewatching experience has always been something I've valued, and movies are not something I take for granted. But I'm now seeing that it's good to do things where I'm not studying, analyzing and scrutinizing all the time. Most recently, I picked up my old Variflex skateboard and started skating again. Nevermind the fact that my board is over twenty years old, it still works. Nevermind the fact that I can't do much other than turns, it's what I want to do. Since I just want to ride the darn thing, I'm not thinking about how soon I'll be doing grinds or kickflips, or ever fully learning that signature Lance Mountain move I never quite got down. Riding itself is the joy, and I find it quite calming. The same can be said with drumming. I haven't played in an active b

Internet Relay Chat with the Central Intelligence Agency

Though I've grumbled about anonymous, mean-spirited/catty comments left on blogs and message boards, I don't think I've ever hated all anonymous comments. If the comments are valid and mature, and allow open discussion without too much defensiveness, I see no harm. Deciding to post multiple comments in Jason's blog post about Engine Down/post-hardcore/emo, I've found the discussions to be pretty engaging. And this all reminds me of why I bother skimming through comment sections in the first place. Back when I was a regular on the News Askew board, I always thought it was cool whenever Kevin would post and answer questions if he had time (I believe he still does this, but it's been a long time since I've been on there). This way, there's something that goes deeper than fancy, super-carefully-worded press releases. Of course, Kevin has shot his mouth off and paid for it later (the supposed "feud" with Jon Favreau, his dislike of Magnolia , etc.

To Bury Within the Sound

Post received a nice little plug over on the AV Club blog yesterday. Though its topic is on Engine Down, Jason did a fine job explaining post-hardcore/emo's transitional years between the mid- to late Eighties and late Nineties. It's definitely a nice primer for what Post mostly covers.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will attend my first Texas Rangers game at the end of this month. Yes, after ten years of living here, I will finally see a professional sports game by an area team. That's right, I've never been to a Cowboys, Mavs or Stars game. As a matter of fact, the last time I went to a baseball game was a Baltimore Orioles game in Baltimore in '94. So, it's been a while. Why it's been a while is simple: I've never been that inclined to go to a game. A common mental equation I have going on in my head is this: will X-amount of dollars spent on a ticket and parking, plus the time spent driving and personal involvement in the activity itself be equal or greater than doing something I regularly do? Since I haven't been convinced in the last ten years, I've stayed away. The main reason I am going is because I was asked by some people I work with. Yes, it's that simple. I think it's very safe to say that when I'm po

My Bloody Valentine

Congrats to Richard for the nice mention of his site on American Movie Classics' Monsterfest blog. In honor of this, I present my review of My Bloody Valentine , which seemed to fall into a black hole after I e-mailed it off. My Bloody Valentine Directed by George Mihalka Released: 1981 by Paramount Pictures Starring: Paul Kelman, Neal Affleck, Lori Hallier I think it’s safe to say that if it weren’t for an amazing Irish rock band supposedly taking its name from the film, My Bloody Valentine would have fallen into complete obscurity. Not to diss horror buffs who hunt down obscure movies, but there’s a reason why My Bloody Valentine sounds a little more familiar than Grapes of Death to the average horror fan. So, for the many that have spent hours delving into the band’s masterpiece Loveless , you might be let down by My Bloody Valentine the film. Set in a small town with a large mine employing most of its twentysomething male residents, the town is getting ready for a Va

Front Row

A recent nickname a couple of my friends have kindly/jokingly called me is "Front Row." Meaning, I'm usually standing right up in front of a band before, during and after their set. Now I know my friends mean no harm in calling me such, but I have plenty of reasons why I stand where I stand. If anything, my desire to have a good spot to watch comes from being at numerous shows where I didn't have a good spot to watch. Remembering what it's like to be up front and having a ball, I try to have a good vantage point at every show I'm at. And that usually means I stay put until the show's done. I recall seeing the Dismemberment Plan on the Change tour with Goose at Rubber Gloves, and having a prime view right before the band hit stage. The place was packed with barely anybody moving. We weren't right up front, but we were close to the stage and could see over everyone in front of us. That was, until two large and tall people (a guy and a girl) decided t

The art of (diplomatic) complaining

Last Wednesday, our new (and very nice) upstairs neighbors had their cable and Internet connection set up. Not thinking much about it much when it happened, but things started to go awry when the cable company technicians knocked on our door first. I answered the door rather puzzled as one of the technicians asked which "apartment" was which. When I realized it was for our neighbors, the men went ahead and installed their cable and Internet. The deal was, as I found out the following day, the technicians not only unplugged our Internet connection, but cut the wire and left it dangling from the roof. I checked with our neighbors to make sure their services were working, and when I found out they were, I called the cable company. The soonest another technician could come was Saturday afternoon, so I cleared out the entire day and waited. When the technician came out before 6pm, he was very friendly, and was done by 6:20. Now that things are back online (and I was credited for

About the Author

Blogging took an unexpected break last week due to our home Internet connection going out (More on this later). Shall have a new post later today, but until then, check out this picture. It might be seen on copies of Post . . .

We've met before, haven't we?

I recently blogged about stumbling across books and DVDs that I didn't know existed, and being glad they existed. Well, sometimes I get rather annoyed when I find out new editions of DVDs have come out stateside, mere months after I paid a pretty coin for an import version. Today's "a-ha!" was thanks in part to Keith's review of a new DVD version of Lost Highway . When I saw Lost Highway for the first time last year, I was quite taken with it. Despite it being on DVD, it was in full-frame, pan-and-scan and looked awful. Regardless, I really liked the movie as a whole and wanted to see it in its correct 2.35:1 ratio. Hearing that the Region 2 version had the movie in widescreen, as well as a second disc of on-set interviews with Lynch and some of the film's stars, I had to get it. (I should add that most of Lynch's films in Region 1 have scant supplemental features or nothing at all.) So, my casual desire for a region-free DVD player so I could watch U.K

Once

I'm not one to make a big announcement about something unless I'm at least 98 percent sure it's a go. Well, it's not like I'm a liar, but despite thinking I was done with the final, final draft of Post , I'm currently doing one more run-through for some very understandable reasons. The big reason: despite going through every single sentence (and reading every word aloud), I'm still finding a small typo here and there, as well as ironing out consistency with the spelling of certain words. This, my friends, is aggravating. But, I'd rather go through this now rather than be stuck with it in printed form. Why I decided to do another read-through was because of feedback I recently received from a trusted source. This is a person I interviewed for the book and knows quite a bit about the writing process (his second book is due out later this year). He asked to read a few chapters and gave me some very helpful constructive criticism. If I didn't agree wit