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Showing posts from December, 2008


I did another write-up for Late Night Wallflower . This time it's on one of my favorite records of the year. Probably my utmost favorite album of the year is not something anybody I know that’s into punk, hardcore, or post-hardcore would truly like. Matter of fact, it would probably make people question my credibility and taste in music in general. Yet I see not guilt in something that I truly like, and see no real reason to have my tongue in my cheek as I write this. I can’t help but be rather defensive in describing my fandom of Journey’s 2008 album, Revelation . Read the rest here .

At the Movies Revisited

In the last few days, I've read this Los Angeles Times article on Ben Lyons, one of the critics on the rebooted, Ebert-and-Roeper-less version of At the Movies , a few times. I've also checked out Stop Ben Lyons! a few times. This prompted me to watch some reviews on the At the Movies site . Do I think the overall nature of film criticism is going downhill? Nope. Instead, I'm getting a better understanding how I find out about movies and decide whether or not I should see them compared to how I used to find out about movies and decide whether or not I should see them. There was a time when Siskel and Ebert was the only place I really found out about movies beyond trailers, commercials, magazines, and Entertainment Tonight . Like what 120 Minutes was to me as a music fan, Siskel and Ebert was where I could see more coverage on stuff beyond the mainstream. But this was in the mid- to late Nineties. Hard for me to believe because it doesn't feel like it, but this wa

Above all . . . it's a love story

This week's A.V. Club inventory focuses on twenty-three films that have yet to appear on Region 1 DVD. Reading through it, I'm reminded that not everything is on DVD, and there is still a hunt for hard-to-find gems. I knew there was a good reason to still have a region-free DVD player and a VCR. Thanks to Trailers From Hell and almost any interview with Quentin Tarantino, there is no shortage of lost films that I might like to see. Part of the enjoyment in these movies is the scarcity of finding a copy. As nice as it is to have old films restored and readily available on DVD, there seems to be something special with the hunt. Case in point, a few months ago, I watched Freebie and the Bean for the first time. I enjoyed the film even though what I watched was a DVD-R rip from an old VHS tape. Since the aspect ratio of the film (2.35:1 I believe) was shrunk to fit the pan-and-scan 4:3, plenty got left out of the picture. Still, I found the film to be enjoyable and I hope someda

Happy Holidays

Blogging will be scant for the next couple of weeks because of the holidays. I hope everybody has a nice holiday. To tide you over for now, here are some links: My book is a great stocking stuffer. I did a quick rundown of three great shows I saw this year for Frontburner. My first column for Late Night Wallflower is online. I was on TV earlier this week. Cake Wrecks is a chance to laugh at cakes gone wrong. Stuff White People Like is a chance for people my age to laugh at themselves. Finally, here are a few Christmas videos to enjoy.

You're only as good as your drummer

Throughout the month of October every year, I think about what all I'd like to put on my Christmas list. This past Halloween, I decided that a certain item will not be on my list this year: Guitar Hero World Tour . I have no problem with playing guitar on the Guitar Hero or Rock Band games. I have no problem with friends of mine playing these games and having a good time. It's just that my exposure to the drum parts on Rock Band , and especially Guitar Hero World Tour , has made me rather annoyed with these games. When I played GHWT at a Halloween party this year, I tried various degrees of expertise and I could barely get through the songs. Super-simple songs, like the Smashing Pumpkins' "Today," were difficult to pull off for me. I can play the songs with no problem on my drumset, but no dice in the virtual world. Probably my biggest gripe here is that a sense of rhythm is not needed. When it came to keeping a beat, no problem. When it came to doing fills, fo

Sometimes They Come Back . . . Again and Again

Well, the timing was weird for this, given the topic of yesterday's post: Variety reports today that Rob Zombie will be making a sequel to his take on Halloween . If this is as any good as Zombie's director's cut of Halloween , I will probably wait until his director's cut comes out on DVD. What's frustrating about slasher sequels is that they all seem like a ploy. No matter how gruesome the apparent death of a monster, the monster always seems to come back. My cynical side says the real monster is not the one you see on the screen: it's the producers that keep wanting to audiences to come back each new installment. And yes, this is somebody who likes all of the Saw sequels. At least when the lead villain was killed in those movies, he didn't come back (for now).

Fooled Around and . . . Liked a Remake

In my continuing effort to arm myself with reasons why movies should not be remade, I've found myself defending a remake of one of my all-time favorites. No, it's not Zack Snyder's take on Dawn of the Dead (which isn't that bad and is surprisingly decent). And it's definitely not the Black Christmas remake (which looks good, but that's about it). I'm talking about Rob Zombie's take on Halloween . The original Halloween is something I watch about once a year, usually near the end of October for obvious reasons. I still jump at the scares, find the acting believable, and find the film's look still really special. I thought a remake was a bad, bad idea for several reasons, re-stating my reasons why the idea of remaking is asking for trouble. Now I'm not about to say Rob Zombie's take on the material is better than the original, but I will say see this movie if you're curious about the Halloween sequels and/or connection-in-name. If you w

A year in watching movies

Earlier this year, between the completion of Post and its release, the amount of DVDs I watched rose significantly. Now it's to a point where I see an average of three DVDs a week, all while finding time to do others things. Again, in lieu of having cable, I choose to watch a lot of DVDs. I don't see a lot of new movies in the theater, mainly because there are a lot of movies out there on DVD that I want to see for the first time. Four movies I actually saw in a theater And those four were: Iron Man , The Dark Knight , Saw V , and Zack and Miri Make a Porno . I still gripe about going to a theater, but these were movies I could just not wait to see them on DVD. Iron Man and The Dark Knight packed a visual and audio punch my home system couldn't, so I'd have to say these films were more satisfying to see in the theater. DVD I bought just for a commentary track, even though I had never seen the film before It seems rather risky and stupid, but I bought the "Direct

In hopes of not sounding like Matt Foley

Credit goes to Scott for this one, based on a recent post . The day after Halloween this year, I came to a realization. Ten years ago, I spent my Halloween alone in my off-campus apartment watching Halloween and Halloween II on my 13-inch TV. This year, I spent it watching Zack and Miri Make a Porno in a theater and then going to two different Halloween parties hosted by friends. It was upon comparing these events based on my ten years of living in the D/FW area that I thought it was safe to say that I have made progress on the social front. Upon this realization, I was reminded of how I had to keep a sense of faith with going to a university where I only knew a couple of people. My social life would have probably been easier if I went to the university my friends went to, but I wanted to go to a smaller school. Call it the road not taken or something like that. I thought I should just stick with making my own path. I was still in touch with my friends, and I'm still in touch wi

Anywhere But Here

I'd say one of the things I truly enjoy with Wes Anderson's film is their look. Some of them look like they could be filmed anywhere. In the case of Bottle Rocket and Rushmore , they were filmed in Dallas and Houston, respectively, but they don't look like the Dallas or Houston most people see. Maybe that's why I don't always think of those films when I drive around their filming locations. Now, on the flipside, with a recent viewing of RoboCop (after not seeing it for seventeen years), I couldn't help but think of Dallas whenever there was an exterior shot. Save for the scenes in the saw mill, the exterior shots were shot around downtown Dallas. Dallas City Hall and Reunion Tower are very visible, and I couldn't imagine the story was set in Detroit. I guess it boils down to the landmarks that are used in a film. Aside from the big Fair Park ferris wheel being visible in a scene in Bottle Rocket , nothing really screams "Dallas!" Same with Rushmo

Bottle Rocket Tour Re-revisited

As I patiently await the arrival of Bottle Rocket on Criterion Blu-Ray, I think about the day-long Bottle Rocket tour I took a few years ago. Since most of the film was filmed here in Dallas, I figured I should venture out sometime and see where it was shot. Just my luck, it was on an overcast day, the type of day you normally see in a Wes Anderson film. I hit up the hotel where Bob, Anthony, and Dignan hide out, the bookstore they robbed, the school where Anthony talks to Grace, Bob's house, the street where Anthony and Dignan discuss the "Things Dignan's Not Supposed to Touch" list, and the location of Hinkley Cold and Storage. I never knew where the mental hospital, the prison, the Lawn Wranglers' hideout, the country club, the fireworks stand, the drug store, or the Mexican night club were, so I didn't try to find them. But still, I saw a lot in one day. The weird thing is, as much as I love the film still to this day, I tend to forget that the film was

You Won't Forget

Over the weekend I received a very nice postcard from one of the most prominent people featured in Post . He congratulated me on the publication of the book, thanked me for sending him a copy, and said he looked forward to reading it. I found his gesture to be very, very kind and I immensely appreciated it. Sometime while processing this I came back to an idea I've discussed before: you never forget the experience of doing something yourself. Whether it's putting out records or books or making your own movie, that experience will probably stay with you for the rest of your life. I have yet to meet somebody who deeply regrets doing any of the aforementioned activities. Not everybody has the drive and/or desire to see something from beginning to completion to release, so it's still somewhat of a rare thing these days. For me, I find way more common ground talking to a punk band about DIY than say, interviewing a member of KISS and wondering if it's OK to talk about KISS M

New Born

Well, it's only taken me nine years, but I can now say I am a fan of Muse . It's not like there was a time when I hated the band's music. It was just not the right time when I first heard the band. Well after Radiohead released OK Computer but before they released Kid A , there seemed to be a number of Radiohead-like bands getting a push on college radio. Palo Alto was one of the many, coupled with a large number of bands with Jeff Buckley/Thom Yorke-like singing. Hearing falsetto after falsetto got to a point of breaking for me. So when Muse's "Uno" and "Muscle Museum" were added into high rotation, I was not impressed. (Adding fuel to the fire: I remember getting a call from a woman asking about that new Radiohead song I just played.) Basically, the Radiohead comparisons had to stop. Radiohead had to put out a new record. I followed Radiohead through Hail to the Thief and still enjoy them, but I don't listen to them as much as I used to. With