Thursday, March 08, 2012

Le Stats

I like Blogger's built-in stat tracking. From it, I'm able to see, among other things, that 90% of the traffic to this blog via keyword search is from people looking up Starsky and Hutch. While I think everyone can agree that Starsky and Hutch was a seminal TV series, the traffic to this site from people searching for, say, The Dukes of Hazzard or Simon & Simon is zero. So, I think it's safe to say that you people love you some Starsky and Hutch and that's about it. Message received. I'm now dedicating this site to all Starksy and Hutch, all the time.

On second thought, according to the chart below, 97 people searched for it in French, so I'm willing to entertain a combination of Starsky and Hutch and Jerry Lewis at about a 80-20 split to pander to my readership (I was going to say fans, but who am I kidding, based on the preponderance of evidence, you are most likely a) here by mistake and b) angry at not having more Starsky and Hutch content to peruse).

As a side note, why do you never hear the word preponderance when not attached to 'of evidence'. If preponderance means "a superiority or excess in weight or number", shouldn't that fit in other non-courtroom situations? I digress...except I don't really, because digress means to leave the main subject temporarily and I've left the main subject permanently.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Classic TV

So, I’ve have this theory that the formula for classic TV is: get two dudes, one has to be blonde and the other had to be brunette. Usually the brunette is the smarter of the two, with the blonde being more “eye-candy” for the ladies. Here are the ones that fit this mold that I can remember off the top of my head:

Starsky and Hutch

Dukes of Hazzard

Battlestar Galactica

Planet of the Apes (tv series)


Simon & Simon

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Heading Home

It is the seventh day of the festival, a wednesday morning, and we are heading home weak, weary, abused, and in need of a warmer climate (nevermind Park City was warmer this year than in year's past). Below, Sam poses with his new Sundance T-shirt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sundance: Day 6

I watched 5 movies today. I don't recommend ever doing that. By the end of the day I was exhausted, my eyes hurt, my head hurt, and my back and neck were sore.

First up at 8:30 AM was Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. I liked this movie, it was funny but it was also pretty intense in some spots. Its not a movie for everyone and I think I had higher expectations, but it was still a solid movie.

Next was Big Fan starring Patton Oswalt. There were relatively few funny parts in this movie, but that's probably because its a drama not a comedy. That will probably disappoint some people expecting Patton Oswalt to be funny. It was a little slow, overall I liked it, but I had pretty high expectations going in and by this time I've seen some pretty darn good movies and this just doesn't stack up that well.

Film number 3 for the the day was Adam starring Hugh Dancy. Its a romantic comedy about a guy and a girl, except the guy has Asperger's syndrome which, in the context of this movie at least, leaves the sufferer unable to communicate as well as he's like because he takes everything literally and doesn't have the filter most of us have, on our comments. Jen and I ended up sitting behind the director and the lead actor, Hugh Dancy and his girlfriend, Claire Daines during the screening.

Next was Arlen Faber starring Jeff Daniels. This was one of the best movies I saw at the festival. Its a light-hearted classical romantic comedy in the vein of the 1930's and 40's screwball comedies. This was one of the few Q & A's I was at where only the director was available for the Q & A portion. It didn't matter though, the director John Hindman (pronounced Hynd-men) was fantastic. Apparently he got his start in stand-up comedy so he was a natural at the mic. He was also one of the most genuine, normal people we saw there. Definitely not pretentious or weird like a lot of filmmakers tend to be.

And closing out the marathon session of movies was The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle. A very odd movie indeed. I recognized one actor (Matt Smith) from Outsourced. During the Q & A when someone asked the cast the old "what is your next project" question, he said he had an auction next weekend as he was also an auctioneer. One of the female cast members (Tania Raymonde) revealed she had been on the TV show "Lost" (playing Ben's daughter, Alex) until her character was shot in the back of the head.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sundance: Day 5

Today Jen & Mel saw I Love You Philip Morris and their review was positive. They apparently also came within three feet of Ewan MacGregor after the Q & A, and the review was glowing. animals.

My first movie of the day was Paper Heart and I really liked it although the lead actresses deadpan style definitely isn't for everyone. It features interviews with real couples talking about how they fell in love and I know it sounds sappy but it was actually really cool.

Next up was Adventureland made by the guy that did Superbad. It was mostly a by-the-numbers romantic comedy that brought nothing new to the table. It wasn't a bad movie, but if you go expecting something really funny like Superbad you'll be let down.

Last up for the day was The Messengers, a movie starring Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster as the guys the military sends out to notify the next of kin when a soldier dies. I didn't have high expectations for this. The first half was actually pretty interesting, you see them knocking on doors and informing different people that their father, son, brother, etc. has just died and you see all kinds of different reactions and it feels pretty true to the way you would think people would handle it. The second half spirals into a pointless meandering narrative on the two main characters and I quickly lost interest.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sundance: Day 4

Today Mel and Jen are seeing The Greatest starring Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon. The consensus was that it was just ok.

My first movie of the day was a foreign film at The Egyptian called Louise-Michel. It too, was just so-so. Not a terrible movie, but compared to everything else I've seen this year at the festival it was a bit of a disappointment. It's a wacky french comedy that tries to be outrageous to the point that there's a weird scene involving a man crashing small planes into a mock up of the twin towers. According to the director during the Q & A they cut a scene involving princess Diana because they decided that was too far.

Next up was Endgame starring William Hurt. It's a political drama (notice I didn't say political "thriller") that moves terribly slow. It's directed by the guy that did Vantage Point and it reminded me of why that movie wasn't particularly good either.

Last up, we went to the midnight movie, Black Dynamite and it lived up to the hype. It's a hilarious send up of 70's blaxploitation flicks like Dolemite and Shaft. Most of the cast was available after the movie for the Q & A (Arsenio Hall was missing). The director pointed out that there was a cameo in the film by a guy that played one of the cops in Dolemite.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sundance: Day 3

It's day 3 and I'm still searching for a bad movie. The girls saw Brooklyn's Finest, which they enjoyed. They said the director, Antoine Fuqua, was available for the Q& A, but no other cast members were in attendance for the Saturday morning screening.

My first movie of the day was It Might Get Loud, the documentary about the electric guitar as seen through Jimmy Page, U2's The Edge, and Jack White from the White Stripes. This movie was a total blast, and crazy loud. I have a new found appreciation for The Edge's effects pedal wizardry and Jack White in general. Jack was available for the Q & A and was pretty funny. He actually seems pretty cool in person, and not weird and intense and weird.

Next up was a movie called The Vicious Kind. My expectations for this were pretty low and only bought tickets to it in order to finish off my ticket package. The synopsis I read in the film guide didn't make it sound like my cup of tea. As it turns out this is now my favorite film of the festival. I was totally blown away by how good it was. J.K. Simmons (Juno, The Ladykillers) was great as always and Adam Scott was hilarious and scary at the same time.

Finally for our midnight movie we saw Mystery Team, the feature length film by Derrick Comedy of YouTube fame. Mel and I were in physical pain from laughing so hard. The first half is especially funny. Just about everybody in he movie was in attendance. It was weird to be standing in line and then when the movie started everyone that came on screen I remembered from the line outside. The three main guys were available for the Q & A and seemed pretty at ease considering they just went from YouTube sensation to a sold out screening at Sundance.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sundance: Day 2

It's Friday, and we have begun our movie viewing in earnest. Melody and Jen saw Mary & Max this morning and the reviews are positive. We took Sam to the park and he was able to experience snow for the first time. The review was mostly positive. Later in the evening, Jen and I headed out to the Library Theater and saw two films, The Missing Person and Helen.

The Missing Person was excellent, a modern day film noir that reminded me a lot of The Big Sleep. During the Q & A the director joked about having ripped off Raymond Chandler for the idea for the script, so there you go. It stars Michael Shannon (from Revolutionary Road) as a private investigator. The New York cab driver in the movie still makes me laugh.

The next movie, Helen, was quite a bit more depressing but still enjoyable. I think I liked The Missing Person better but Ashley Judd definitely put on quite a performance. The cast was available for the Q & A after the screening, which was pretty cool. The guy next to me was crying during the entire second half of the movie, so I guess it's safe to say it's a pretty sad movie. I find middle-aged men, sobbing uncontrollably while sitting next to me, somewhat unsettling. I don't care for it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sundance: Day 1

So we landed at SLC around 4:20 local time, then took a shuttle ride into Park City. Jen chatted with six young, nubile Brazilians as we checked into the Copperbottom Inn. Our room was great, all the comforts of home except TiVo. Not much to do the first day but get settled in and get the lay of the land. Jen and I walked down main street and saw Christie Brinkley; she smiled and said hello as we passed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This will Only Take a Minute

One last thing before heading off to Sundance. One of the crazy movies we'll be seeing is Black Dynamite starring Michael Jai White in the title role. Here's the deleted scene from Kill Bill 2 that he stars in:

(edit: this link is no longer available)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sundance Tickets Have Arrived

Sundance tickets have finally arrived. Also arriving: a voucher for a Sundance catalog, a fold out transit map, one ticket to the opening night party and two credentials and last but not least: a lanyard for the above-mentioned credentials.

Well I think that does it for the preparations. Our flight leaves on the 15th. So we'll have one day to get settled in before the marathon o' films begins.

Our second Ticket Package A will be waiting at the Main Box Office 'cuz we're crazy like that.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sundance Ticket Fulfillment

Today is the day we select the movies we will be seeing at Sundance. Five Minutes of Heaven and An Education were sold out for the first 5 days of the festival (both were only screening once in Park City during that time so you had to figure that might happen). I'm bummed I couldn't get tickets for those. Other films I noticed were sold out: World's Greatest Dad, 500 Days of Summer, and Crude, the documentary about oil (seriously?)

Anyway, here are the ones we got tickets for:

Jan 16th:
Mary and Max
The Missing Person

Jan 17th:
Brooklyn's Finest
It Might Get Loud
The Vicious Kind
Mystery Team

Jan 18th:
The Greatest
Black Dynamite

Jan 19th:
I Love You Phillip Morris
Paper Heart
The Messenger

Jan 20th:
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Big Fan
Arlen Faber
The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle

So, the breakdown by category is:
6 films from the U.S. Dramatic Competition
1 from the World Dramatic Competition
6 from the Premiers category
4 from the Spectrum (non-competition dramas)
1 from the Spectrum Documentary category (non-competition docs)
2 from the Midnight Movies category

The breakdown by theater is:
7 at the Library
6 at the Eccles
5 at the Racquet Club
1 at the Holiday
1 at the Egyptian

7 of the 20 movies we're seeing are their absolute first showing at the festival, for whatever that's worth (Adventureland, Endgame, The Messenger, Helen, The Missing Person, Mystery Team, and Black Dynamite).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Preparations A through G were a complete failure

Less than a month to go, many preparations to be made, not the least of which is figuring out what movies we will pick when the 29th gets here. I've been pouring over the film guide and some difficult choices will indeed have to be made.

When I first decided to attend Sundance I checked around the Internet and stumbled across this cool blog about one persons Sundance experience. It's been four months now and it's still my favorite site on the subject.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Sundance Film Guide is Up

Check out the on-line film guide here or download the .pdf version here.

The following films (among others) are not being screened in Park City until the second half of the schedule, and since we're going for the first half (the aforementioned "A-week"). We can safely scratch these off our to do list:
  • Moon (sci-fi starring Sam Rockwell and made by David Bowie's son)

  • The Informers (odd looking film starring Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Bassinger)

  • Shrink (about a psychiatrist; stars Kevin Spacey)

  • In the Loop (described as a british political farce)

I had some interest in Moon and In the Loop, but all in all those four weren't in my top 10 anyway.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sundance 2009 Lineup Announced

Sundance officially announced their film lineup for 2009. You can see the full press release here and here. According to their site:

118 feature-length films were selected including 89 world premieres, 17 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first- time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. These films were selected from 3,661 feature- length film submissions composed of 1,905 U.S. and 1,756 international feature-length films.
Of those 118 I've narrowed my list down to 50 you see below. So far we've only purchased 2 Ticket A packages, so that means 40 tickets or 20 movies (with 2 people attending). So my plan is to organize these 50 in order of preference so that I have plenty of backups when I go to select the films at the end of December.

Several factors conspire against us:

1) Depending on which day (Dec 29th, 30th, or 31st) we're assigned our ticket selection windows, some movies may already be sold out. Edit: We got late in the day on the 29th as our ticket selection window for both packages. yay us.

2) Judging from previous years' film guides, each movie only screens about 5 times during the course of the 10 day festival. The festival is divided into 2 sections, the first 5 days (A week) and the second 5 days (B week). So for our purposes, films may only screen 2 or 3 times during "week A". On top of that, one or more of those screenings may be in Ogden or Salt Lake. So it's highly likely that some movies will only screen once or twice in Park City during the first 5 days, and more than likely there will a couple of movies that show the same time as others on our list, forcing us to choose one or the other. (in 2003, for example, American Splendor only screened twice in the first 5 days: at 8:30 PM on day 4, and at 8:30 AM on day 5. Also, The Visitor didn't play at all in Park City last year during the first 5 days of the festival).

So, here is our list roughly in order of preference. I doubt so many films will be unavailable as to reach down into the extreme lower part of this list, but who knows we may want to purchase additional individual tickets oce we get there.

Five Minutes of Heaven / UK
Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt, Anamaria Marinca
(Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel; Screenwriter: Guy Hibbert)—Two men from the same town but from different sides of the Irish political divide discover that the past is never dead--in fact it isn't even past.World Premiere

An Education / UK
Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson.
(Dir: Lone Scherfig; Screenwriter: Nick Hornby)—In the early 60s, a sharp 16- year-old with sights set on Oxford meets a handsome older man whose sophistication enraptures and sidetracks both her and her parents. World Premiere

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Julianne Nicholson, John Krasinski, Timothy Hutton, Dominic Cooper, Christopher Meloni, Rashida Jones
(Dir/Screenwriter: John Krasinski) When her boyfriend leaves with little explanation, a doctoral candidate in anthropology tries to remedy her heartache by interviewing men about their behavior. World Premiere

Big Fan
Patton Oswalt, Michael Rapaport, Kevin Corrigan, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Matt Servitto
(Dir/Screenwriter: Robert Siegel) The world of a parking garage attendant who happens to be the New York Giants' biggest fan is turned upside down after an altercation with his favorite player. World Premiere.

Paper Heart
Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera, Jake Johnson
(Dir: Nicholas Jasenovec; Screenwriters: Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi)—Even though performer Charlyne Yi doesn't believe in love, she bravely embarks on a quest to discover its true nature--a journey that takes on surprising urgency when she meets unlikely fellow traveler, actor Michael Cera. World Premiere

The Greatest
Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan, Johnny Simmons, Aaron Johnson, Mike Shannon
(Dir/Screenwriter: Shana Feste) After the tragic loss of their teenage son, a family is again thrown into turmoil by the arrival of a young woman. World Premiere

Cold Souls
Paul Giamatti, David Strathairn, Dina Korzun, Emily Watson, Lauren Ambrose, Katheryn Winnick
(Dir/Screenwrtier: Sophie Barthes) In the midst of an existential crisis, a famous American actor explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life. World Premiere

Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader
(Dir/Screenwriter: Greg Mottola)—In 1987, a recent college graduate takes a nowhere job at his local amusement park and discovers the job is perfect preparation for the real world. World Premiere

Brooklyn's Finest
Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Don Cheadle, Ellen Barkin
(Dir: Antoine Fuqua; Screenwriter: Michael C. Martin)—After enduring vastly different career paths, three unconnected Brooklyn cops wind up at the same deadly location. World Premiere

500 Days of Summer
Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
(Dir: Marc Webb; Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)—When an unlucky greeting card copywriter is dumped by his girlfriend, the hopeless romantic shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days 'together' in hopes of figuring out where things went wrong. World Premiere

Ashton Kutcher, Anne Heche.
(Dir: David Mackenzie; Screenwriter: Jason Dean Hall)—A handsome young man survives in Los Angeles by seducing wealthy older women. World Premiere

I Love You Philip Morris
Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro
(Directors and Screenwriters: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa)—The true story about con artist and imposter Steven Jay Russell, a married father whose exploits land him in the Texas criminal justice system. Based on the novel by Houston Chronicle crime reporter Steve McVicker. World Premiere

Endgame / UK
William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller, Mark Strong
(Dir: Pete Travis; Screenwriter: Paula Milne)—A political thriller in which a businessman initiates covert discussions between the African National Congress and white intellectuals to try and find a peaceful solution to the Apartheid regime. World Premiere

Mary and Max / Australia
Philip Seymour Hoffman (voice), Toni Collette (voice), Barry Humphries (voice)
(Dir/Screenwriter: Adam Elliot)—The tale of two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. World Premiere, Opening Night Film

Arlen Faber
Kat Dennings, Lauren Graham, Olivia Thirlby, Jeff Daniels, Tony Hale
(Dir/Screenwriter: John Hindman) A reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. World Premiere

Black Dynamite
Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Byron Minns, James McManus
(Dir: Scott Sanders; Screenwriters: Michael Jai White, Scott Sanders, and Byron Minns)—When 'The Man' murders his brother, pumps heroin into local orphanages, and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, 1970s African-American action legend Black Dynamite is the one hero willing to take him on. World Premiere

Moon / UK
Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
(Dir: Duncan Jones; Screenwriter: Nathan Parker)—Before returning to Earth after three years on the moon, things go horribly wrong for astronaut Sam Bell. World Premiere

Helen / Canada/Germany
Ashley Judd, Goran Visnijic
(Dir/Screenwriter: Sandra Nettelbeck)—A successful psychiatrist fights her own clinical depression. World Premiere

Téa Leoni, Billy Bob Thornton, Kyle MacLachlan
(Dir: Michael Polish; Screenwriters: Mark Polish and Michael Polish)—A comic tale centered on manure salesmen in the early 1960s. World Premiere

In the Loop / UK
Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander.
(Dir: Armando Iannucci; Screenwriters: Armando Iannucci and Jesse Armstrong)—A fast-paced film about Britain and America's special relationship in the lead-up to a war no one seems to be able to stop. World Premiere

World's Greatest Dad
Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore, Tom Kenny, Geoffrey Pierson.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Bobcat Goldthwait)—A comedy about a high school poetry teacher who learns that the things you want most may not be the things that make you happy. World Premiere

Taking Chance
Kevin Bacon, Blanche Baker
(Dir: Ross Katz; Screenwriters: LtCol Michael R. Strobl, USMC (Ret.) and Ross Katz )—Based on real-life events, Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, a volunteer military escort officer, accompanies the body of 19-year-old Marine Chance Phelps back to his hometown of Dubois, Wyoming. World Premiere

The Messenger
Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker
(Dir: Oren Moverman; Screenwriters: Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman)—Two soldiers from different generations form a unique bond as they cope with their assignment with the Army Casualty Notification department. World Premiere

Mystery Team
Dominic Dierkes, D.C. Pierson, Donald Glover, Aubrey Plaza, Glenn Kalison
(Dir: Dan Eckman; Screenwriters: Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson)—A group of kid detectives called The Mystery Team struggle to solve a double murder to prove they can be real detectives before they graduate from high school. World Premiere

The Informers
Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke
(Dir: Gregor Jordan; Screenwriters: Bret Easton Ellis and Nicholas Jarecki)—A drama based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel, set in the 1980s, focusing on wealthy Angelinos consumed by a decadent lifestyle. North American Premiere

Spring Breakdown
Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, Will Arnett, Rachel Hamilton.
(Dir: Ryan Shiraki; Screenwriters: Ryan Shiraki and Rachel Dratch)—Three thirtysomething friends attempt to break the monotony of their uninspired lives by vacationing at a popular spring break getaway for college students. World Premiere

Sin Nombre
Edgar Flores, Paulina Gaitan, Kristyan Ferrer, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Luis Fernando Peña, Diana García
(Dir/Screenwriter: Cary Joji Fukunaga) A teenage Mexican gang member maneuvers to outrun his violent past and elude unforgiving former associates in this thriller set among Central American migrants seeking to cross over to the United States. World Premiere

The Missing Person
Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Frank Wood.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Noah Buschel) Private detective John Rosow is hired to tail a man on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. En route, Rosow uncovers that the man's identity is one of the thousands presumed dead after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. World Premiere

Louise-Michel / France
Yolande Moreau, Bouli Lanners.
(Dir: Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern)—When a French factory is abruptly closed by its corrupt management, a group of disgruntled female workers pool their paltry compensation money and hire a hit man to knock off the corrupt executive behind the closure. North American Premiere

Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard, Alycia Delmore, Lynn Shelton, Trina Willard
(Dir/Screenwriter: Lynn Shelton) A farcical comedy about straight male bonding gone a little too far. World Premiere

It Might Get Loud
The Edge, Jimmy Page, Jack White
(Dir: Davis Guggenheim)—The history of the electric guitar from the point of view of three legendary rock musicians. U.S. Premiere

The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle
Marshall Allman, Vince Vieluf, Natasha Lyonne, Tania Raymonde, Tygh Runyan
(Dir/Screenwriter: David Russo)—After losing his high-paying job, Dory takes a gig as a night janitor in order to pay rent. Alone late at night inside a market research firm, he discovers something worse than his new job cleaning toilets - a conniving corporate executive has made him the subject of a bizarre experiment. World Premiere

Against the Current
Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser, Mary Tyler Moore, Michelle Trachtenberg.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Peter Callahan)—Facing the anniversary of his pregnant wife's tragic death, thirty-five-year old Paul Thompson enlists the help of two friends to help him swim the length of the Hudson River. World Premiere

Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver, Anthony Edwards
(Dir/Screenwriter: Katherine Dieckmann)—A mother of two from Manhattan is having a day that would challenge even the toughest maternal multi-tasker. World Premiere

Once More with Feeling
Drea de Matteo, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Susan Miser, Lauren Bittner
(Dir: Jeff Lipsky; Screenwriter: Gina O'Brien)—A comedy about a psychiatrist who undergoes a midlife crisis and pursues his long-lost ambition of becoming a singer through karaoke. World Premiere

The Maid (La Nana) / Chile
Catalina Saavedra, Claudia Celedón, Mariana Loyola, Alejandro Goic, Andrea García-Huidobro
(Dir/Screenwriter: Sebastian Silva)—When her mistress brings on another servant to help with the chores, a bitter and introverted maid wreaks havoc on the household. North American Premiere

The Clone Returns (Kuron Wa Kokyo-Wo Mezasu) / Japan
Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Eri Ishida, Hiromi Nagasaku
(Dir/Screenwriter: Kanji Nakajima) —A Japanese astronaut who dies during a mission is subsequently resurrected as a clone and returns to his childhood home. North American Premiere

Kevin Spacey, Keke Palmer, Mark Webber, Dallas Roberts, Saffron Burrows.
(Dir: Jonas Pate; Screenwriter: Thomas Moffett)—Unable to come to grips with a recent personal tragedy, Los Angeles’ top celebrity psychiatrist loses faith in his ability to help his patients. World Premiere

Alec Baldwin, Kieran Culkin, Timothy Hutton, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Roberts.
(Dir: Derick Martini; Screenwriters: Derick Martini and Steven Martini)—Set in the 1970s, a unique take on the dangers of the American dream seen through the innocent eyes of a fifteenyear-old boy. U.S. Premiere

The Vicious Kind
Brittany Snow, Adam Scott, J.K. Simmons, Alex Frost
(Dir/Screenwriter: Lee Toland Krieger)—Suffering insomnia and testy by nature, Caleb Sinclaire reluctantly picks up his brother Peter at college and brings him and his new girlfriend Emma home to his estranged father's house for Thanksgiving. World Premiere

The Yes Men Fix the World / France/ USA
Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno
(Directors: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Kurt Engfehr)—A pair of notorious troublemakers sneak into corporate events disguised as captains of industry, then use their momentary authority to expose the biggest criminals on the planet. World Premiere

Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison, Mark Linn-Baker
(Dir/Screenwriter: Max Mayer)—A strange and lyrical love story between a somewhat socially dysfunctional young man and the woman of his dreams. World Premiere

Peter and Vandy
Jess Weixler, Jason Ritter, Jesse L. Martin, Tracie Thoms
(Dir/Screenwriter: Jay DiPietro)—Juxtaposing a couple's romantic beginnings with the twisted-manipulative-regular couple they have become, Peter and Vandy is a contemporary Manhattan love story with no beginning and no end. World Premiere

Afghan Star / Afghanistan/UK
Havana Marking
(Director: Havana Marking) After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. This film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. North American Premiere

White Lightnin' / UK
Ed Hogg, Carrie Fisher, Muse Watson, Wallace Merck, Clay Steakley
(Dir: Dominic Murphy; Screenwriters: Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti)—The outrageous cult story of Jesco White, the dancing outlaw. World Premiere

Johnny Mad Dog / France
Cast: Christophe Minie, Daisy Victoria Vandy
(Dir: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire; Screenwriters: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire and Jacques Fieschi) A fifteen-year-old kid-soldier fighting in Africa is armed to the hilt and inhabited by the mad dog he dreams of becoming. North American Premiere

Død Snø (Dead Snow) / Norway
Cast: Vegard Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Jenny Skavlan, Jeppe Beck Laursen
(Director: Tommy Wirkola; Screenwriters: Tommy Wirkola and Stig Frode Henriksen)—A group of teenagers had all they needed for a successful ski vacation; cabin, skis, snowmobile, toboggan, copious amounts of beer and a fertile mix of the sexes. Certainly, none of them anticipated not returning home alive! However, the Nazi-zombie battalion haunting the mountains had other plans. North American Premiere

Big River Man
John Maringouin
(Director: John Maringouin)—An overweight, wine-swilling Slovenian world-recordholding endurance swimmer resolves to brave the mighty Amazon--in nothing but a Speedo®. World Premiere

Dada's Dance / China
Li Xinyun, Li Xiaofeng, Gai Ge, Chen Jun
(Dir: Zhang Yuan; Screenwriter: Li Xiaofeng)—Dada is a flirtatious young woman who lives with her mother in a small town. Having to fend off the constant advances of her mother's boyfriend who tells her she is adopted, she undertakes a journey in search of her birth mother. North American Premiere

The Killing Room
Chloe Sevigny, Peter Stormare, Clea DuVall, Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon
(Dir: Jonathan Liebesman; Screenwriters: Gus Krieger and Ann Peacock)—Four individuals sign up for a psychological research study only to discover that they are now subjects of a brutal, classified government program. World Premiere

Friday, October 31, 2008

Check, Check, and Check

Quick update on the Sundance front:
  • We registered for the opportunity to buy tickets on Sept. 23rd.
  • We were assigned two time-slots for the 2nd day of ticket buying (Oct 29th) and one time slot for the 4th day (you can only purchase one ticket package per registration/time slot).
  • On the 29th we successfully purchased 2 Ticket Package A, umm, packages. Twenty tickets per package, so that's 40 tickets for movies spanning the 1st five days of the festival (Jan. 16th - 20th). By the time our 3rd time slot rolled around Ticket Package A as well as the Discovery Packages (10 tickets) were all sold out, fortunately 40 tickets should be more than enough.
  • Now we have to wait until December to actually choose what movies we're going to use our tickets for.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Say Good Day!

I'm having trouble figuring out the complex rules system for Sundance ticket buying. I contacted customer support and received the following response:
Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract [...] it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if -- and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy -- "I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera... "Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum," et cetera, et cetera... "Memo bis punitor delicatum"! It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!
I responded back explaining to them that a) I have signed no such contract, and b) I'm pretty sure you just quoted a line from a Gene Wilder movie.

Actually, I did ask if I was allowed to trade tickets with other filmgoers because I had heard you could do that. I was told you can "exchange tickets that you do not want up until 2 hours before a screening at any Main Box Office". So there you go, one more mystery solved.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Upcoming Vacation

So we're planning our next vacation to Utah in January. We are going to attempt to go to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City in late January 2009. My people (and by people I mean Google) tell me it's cold there, like 8 degrees. Some of us might not be making it back. It is both easier and more difficult than I thought it would be to attend this festival. I'll keep you updated on our progress.
So far the hurdles are:
  • acquire lodging
  • acquire plane tickets
  • acquire movie tickets
  • make sure the dog is taken care of
Plans are in motion for all of the above. The one X factor to all of this is the movie tickets. You see, Sundance is a 10 day festival broken into two 5-day blocks. You either order tickets/passes for the first 5 days (A packages) or the second 5 days (B packages).

To order tickets you have to pre-register between September 23rd and October 10th. About a week after registration closes you get an email either telling you when you can buy tickets or that you were not selected to buy tickets. So there's the rub, you can wait until you know if you can score tickets at which point all the hotels will be sold out, or you can reserve now with the possibility of getting zero tickets. awesome.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

We Got Feeds, Y'all

With the new version of Blogger making it even easier to add RSS feeds, I've gone crazy. I added a couple of Netflix feeds that display up-to-the-minute information on what movies Larry currently has at home, and the top 5 movies he has queued.

It's like a window into my world. Don't you feel like we are really connecting now? No? Wow, all of a sudden you seem a little uncomfortable. When did this conversation suddenly turn into that Christopher Walkern SNL skit, "The Continental"?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Netflix, Thou Art a Cruel Mistress

Netflix shipping as I see it...

  • If I receive a movie on Monday and Tuesday morning I mail it back, then Wednesday Netflix will receive it and ship out another DVD the same day.

  • It takes 2 days to get to me, so I'll get it on Friday.

  • All this, of course, assumes I will watch the movie the same day I receive it.

  • Based on the above information: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the best days to mail movies for optimum turn around.

  • Unfortunately, if you mail it Mon through Wed you would at best be able to send them back Fri through Sunday (which are the worst days).

  • On average we watch 3 movies a week; this works out to just over 12 movies per month.

  • If you started May 1st and watched every movie the same day you received it, and mailed it back the following morning you could watch 18 movies in a month. If you average 2 days to watch a movie the total goes down to 15 movies max for the month. 3 days = 12, 4 days = 9.

  • This is a great deal if the movies are new releases. $4 per new release x 18 movies would be $72 worth of movies for only $17.99 a month.

  • However, if all 18 movies are .99 non-new release rentals, then .99 x 18 = $17.82 worth of movies for $17.99 per month. Not a great deal at all. In fact, some might suggest this is, in fact, a craptastic deal.

  • I'm not altogether sure movie rental stores still have .99 rentals on non-new releases.

So, the more new releases you rent, the more bang you're getting for your buck. Save the movies that have been on DVD for a year or more for cable.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Has It Been Four Months?

Well, it has been a while since I’ve posted to the blog. I will avoid promises of more frequent posts like some people.

The reasons for my absence from the blogosphere are twofold:

1) you may have noticed that my departure corresponds roughly to the launch of new television season. That’s right, Lost, 24, Prison Break, SNL, and Family Guy are to blame.

2) Writer’s block. Generally I find inspiration strikes me when I’m driving on the freeway or taking care of the livestock out back. When I actually sit down to put my thoughts to the keyboard, I get nothing. Which is too bad, because if memory serves me correct those snippets of wisdom are truly a wonder to behold (and by 'behold', I mean 'to reflect upon'). Unfortunately I forget them soon after. What I need to do is carry around a small tape recorder or hire a personal assistant that can transcribe my mutterings on the spot.

In the 38 years I’ve maintained this blog I've learned a few hard lessons. Not the least of which is, "Always spackle before you paint".

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Word About Comments

There have been a lot of comments received at the news desk this week, and unfortunatly most have been rejected. While we appreciate your contributions to the Spatulas of Doom blog, in the future please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • All comments must praise Larry
  • All commentators must display deference and obsequiousness to Larry
  • Comments must not disagree with Larry
  • Comments must not displease Larry
  • Do not taunt, mock, or otherwise affect a disrespectful tone with or towards Larry

Also, criticism should be constructive and should follow the 5 to 1 rule: 5 positive comments for every negative one.

example of good criticism: "I don't think you expressed just how awesome you

example of bad criticism: "you are a self-absorbed jerk and I hope you
die a horrible death"

Comments should, for the most part, sing Larry’s praises with multiple exclamation points.

For instance: "Great post!!!" "Way to go!!" "You rock!!!!"

Submissions not following the above guidelines are subject to a complete rewrite and/or deletion.

editor, Spatulas of Doom newsdesk
Fighting censorship since Q4 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We Are...Entertained

In mid-August we attended a test screening for an upcoming film called We Are Marshall. We signed some sort of non-disclosure agreement, and although I don’t remember everything it said, I do remember the part about "not discussing the details of the movie verbally or electronically especially on the Internet". Per Imdb it’s based on the true story of the Marshall College football team that died in a plane crash in the early 70s, so I think it's safe to say at least that much about it. Suffice it say, I liked the movie a lot.

Anyway, while we were in line, some guy with a clipboard came by and asked, "Why are you here?" My wife replied, "because it’s free". He countered, "So if we were screening Dumbo II (he spoke in Italics) you would’ve came to see it because it was free?" We said probably not, and that we knew this was a football movie, and we liked Friday Night Lights, which was also a football movie, so...

He then asked us to be part of a 20-person focus group that would stay after the film and discuss our opinion. We were issued nametags, I said I would like to be addressed as Snake. and then we were seated in a special roped-off area of the theater. At the end of the movie we all moved down to the front two rows and met the moderator. He asked for our thoughts on the film and the first few minutes went like this:

Focus Member 1: "It was inspirational"
Moderator: "It was inspirational…"
Focus Member 2: "It was uplifting"
Moderator: "It was uplifting…"
Focus Member 3: "I really liked the way the characters interacted with each other"
Moderator: "You really liked the way the characters interacted with each other…"

I began to wonder to myself if perhaps the moderator was a moron. He then said, "I’m repeating everything for the benefit of the tape-recorder - I’m not a moron". Mystery solved.

Speaking of people of the not-smart persuasion, there were some doozies in that focus group. One or two people said the movie needed to be more "light-hearted". Light-hearted? Yeah that's what a movie about a tragedy needs, maybe some fart-jokes.

I was made to wonder if any movies have been ruined by paying too much attention to test audiences.

Kevin Smith has an interesting article about test screenings from the perspective of a filmmaker on his blog. So, keep on trucking, or something.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Viewer Mail

Dear Daddy,

I’m writing to you today to express my concern over several areas that, I think, warrant improvement.

First, I notice on your blog you have used my photograph without, as my attorney Mr. Poof-Poof puts it, “my express written consent”. You may consider this missive a demand to cease and desist. Furthermore, I have outlined a number of areas that are unacceptable and the way in which you and mother (hereafter referred to as ma-ma) can rectify said infractions.

My demands are as follows:

  1. I want better “num-nums”... milk and oatmeal is fine, but how about the occasional “nanner”? Also, I hear steak is nice.
  2. A stricter adherence to the “warm wet-wipes only” rule after I have done my - how can I put this delicately – business.
  3. Speaking of waste disposal, no more cries of “Lord have mercy” or gagging sounds when removing my diaper. Seriously, you people act as if your shuey-poo doesn’t stink.
  4. There appears to be some communication problem with the both of you. Just last night when I clearly indicated my need to unwind with a vintage bottle of Similac ’06 you mistook my cries for a request for snuggle time.
  5. Finally, for the love of all that's holy, please, no more bi-lingual flash cards. Should I require the need to speak Esperanto at some point I'll deal with it then.

In conclusion, if my demands are not met there will be severe repercussions. I’ve spoken with some of the other babies in our area and we’re considering unionizing. Nothing is set in stone yet, but we have a charter and we’re tossing around ideas for cool uniforms.

Assuming that we infants are afforded the same rights as any other toothless, bladder-incontinent citizen of this country, and I submit to you that we are, then something is not right around here and needs to change, as the French say, tout-de-suit.




Monday, June 12, 2006

Behind the Music: W.E.S.

As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, when not working as an arc-welder in the greater Lodi area, I do a lot of charity work with the underprivileged. However, I also like to take a little time away every now and then. So it was a couple of years ago that I started moonlighting in a local rock band. We called ourselves Wendi’s Electric Stapler and we performed every 3rd Thursday in August and November at The Salad Shooter Juice Bar & Vegan Deli. We considered ourselves a Twee pop-Gothabilly-Grebo-Jangle-pop band. And although that’s hardly original, our true claim to fame was that we only did Jim Croce cover tunes.

When I first joined the band I met the woman pictured above, and this lovely yet diabolical woman haunts my waking nightmares to this very day. Her stage name was Lori, though she also went by L-Dog, Snake, and sometimes Peaches. We soon became embroiled in a whirlwind romance and shared the kind of cosmic symmetry of spirit that you only read about in Harlequin romance novels. In the beginning I was arrogant and cruel while she was innocent and chaste and spoke with a southern accent.

I'm not sure if you can make it out in the picture, but she has a tattoo on her arm that says "Larry & Peaches Forever". Well like Prince says, forever is a mighty long time and, "when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, Dr. Everything'll-Be-All-right, instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind, baby". Anyway, it was at that moment, what alcoholics (and Jules Winnfield) refer to as a moment of clarity, that I realized either our relationship or my sanity was doomed.

As so often happens in the real world, everything ended in tears. My tears to be specific. She was an exacting woman, I remember a particularly nasty fight we once got into when I asked, “Where's the dog at?” and she replied, “don’t ever end a sentence in a preposition again or I’ll cut you”.

The worst was yet to come because, as with so many break-ups, politics would be our undoing. I remember the day she told me she advocated the plan for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge like it was yesterday. “You’re willing to destroy a wildlife refuge and speed up what is sure to be the coming global apocalypse for just a few months worth of oil?” I asked incredulously. She said, “I’m not planning on going to Alaska anyway, so I doubt I’ll miss it”. On the other hand she was, she assured me, against drilling in Disneyland.

I was crestfallen. I tried everything I could think of to change her. I tried Therapy (not professional therapy, rather Therapy: The board game. It's surprisingly cathartic). I tried an intervention, a seance and a Pampered Chef party...I even called her close-minded, nothing worked.

You see, Lori was the worst kind of evil: She was a Republican. You might have noticed the red eyes in the picture and assumed it was a photographic anomaly caused by light reflecting off the retina - you couldn't be more wrong. That’s her actual eye color. Her eyes burn with a fire as if from a woman possessed. Anyway, it was over for us the day she stole the keys to my Prius and tried to run me over. The band broke up a few months later, and the rest as they say, is history.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Noblesse Oblige

Perhaps I should relate a bit of history so the reader can better understand what I like to call "the big picture"...

Long time fans of the site will remember last summer when I started my own business called Crazy Larry's House of Discount Cheese. Well, I won't rehash the entire story now, but suffice it to say that there is such a thing as bad publicity and even a relatively mild dysentery epidemic will scare off the lion's share of ones clientele.
At any rate, my earlier failure was probably a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to move on to an occupation that allows me to give something back to the community. Fast forward to today where I am currently employed as an arc-welder at the medium security Men's Correctional Facility in Lodi, California. It was in the daily course of my duties that I met the man pictured above.

As usual a person's privacy is sacrosanct here at the Spatulas news desk. I'll refer to him only by the completely chosen-at-random name "Barry" or by his prison name, "Baby Buns". Barry, I soon learned, had been a semi-professional ball player that everyone expected would go on to be the next Nomar minus the OCD. His downfall began the day he fell for a woman that convinced him armed-robbery was "cool".

I've been working with Barry for a while now and I've seen some marked improvement. I told him it was ok to cry (just not around me because that kind of stuff will get you stabbed here in "the joint"). I've also taught him to redirect his passion to constructive ends by turning him on to a personal cause of mine: the environment.

Finally, I passed along a verse that has proved invaluable to me over the years. In the immortal words of Meatwad from Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
“It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, whether you're white, black, or Sasquatch, even. As long as you follow your dream, no matter how crazy or against the law it is... except for Sasquatch. If you're Sasquatch, the rules are different”.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Smooth Criminal

Startling new revelations from a close family member:

Re: "Don't Do It!".

I too know this a matter of fact we grew up together singing in the same family musical group...the Collins 5. From a very young age she has been interested in animals...birds, dogs, fish, you name it. We never thought anything of it until one day she renamed the bird Princess Jennifer Jr and the fish Bubbles. Today she lives in quiet seclusion on her sprawling "Nevermind" estate in Santa Barbara, vindicated after being acquitted on all 11 counts of cruelty to animals. It is unsettling to see her up to her old tricks again. Who would have ever thought that after her 1975 chart topping hit "ABC-123" that she would fall so far from grace. Truly sad. - Tito Collins

Sunday, May 28, 2006

When a plan comes together

As many of you know, I do a lot of work with the disadvantaged. So it was in the course of an outing of the Defining Opportunities for Redheaded Kids Society that I met this man. We'll call him "Tim" to respect his privacy. Anyway, Tim explained to me that he had served two tours in 'Nam and in the years since returning he had hatched a plan. He said he was going to organize an elite band of mercenaries that would hire themselves out to help people in need.

The poor fella was devastated when I explained that someone had beat him to the punch. Such a group had indeed already been formed; it was called the "A-Team" and had operated from 1983 to 1987.

Later that day, I met his wife "Kay", and she told me Tim was afflicted with a rare disorder whereby prolonged exposure to the sun rendered him completely insane as well as mildly congested. Unfortunately, this is an all too common story where redheads are concerned. There is no cure, she informed me, only containment. Education is the key.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Meet me in yonder window embrasia

Two of the best character actors of early cinema (according to me) were Eric Blore and Robert Grieg. Both were masters of the uppity servant role. As soon as is humanly possibly, I demand that you see a film with one of them, or better yet both. As it turns out, they were both in The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels. It was in Sullivan’s Travels that Grieg (playing the part of the Burrows the butler) delivers the following admonition to his employer:
"You see, sir, rich people and theorists - who are usually rich people - think of poverty in the negative, as the lack of riches, as disease might be called the lack of health. But it isn't, sir, poverty is not the lack of anything, but a positive plague, virulent in itself, contagious as cholera, with filth, criminality, vice and despair as only a few of its symptoms. It is to be stayed away from, even for purposes of study. It is to be shunned."

And speaking of Sullivan's Travels, this is a movie worth seeing. The main character is a movie producer that sets off to make a movie of social commentary, a "message movie". In the end he discovers that a) he isn't really qualified to make a movie about the poor, because he doesn't really understand the subject matter and b) movies are entertainment (who knew? certainly not the Hollywood of today) and as such, entertainment provides the only social benefit it needs to. It distracts the audience from the cares and complications of the real world for 90 minutes, and that's a good thing.

Preview THE LADY EVE at

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Don't Do It

There's this lady in my neighborhood. Let's call her "Jenny" to protect her identity. So anyway, one day I'm walking along and I notice her up in her balcony with her little dog. I smile and wave because it's a wonderful day and Oprah is on in 30 minutes, but my high spirits are soon turned to horror as I notice she is dangling her dog over the balcony a la Michael Jackson. I attempt to reason with her. I say, "Ma'am, put the dog down and step a-wayyy from the balcony". She then proceeds to tell me that a) she is not dangling her dog over the ledge and b) that I'm violating the edict of the restraining order by approaching within the 150 feet limit.