Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Glory of Grindhouse

Last weekend, Becca and I went to see Grindhouse. I had been looking forward to it for weeks but hadn't yet had a chance to get out and see it. Becca wasn't crazy about seeing it at first, so I was flirting with the idea of just catching it on video when it comes out. But then, after talking to Kristin about it, I decided that I just had to see it in the theater. I mean, the whole thing is based on the theater experience, it's a throwback.

And oh, am I glad that I did! I've never been a big Robert Rodriguez fan (except, strangely, for The Faculty) but he seems to be on a bit of a roll after Sin City. Planet Terror is a fantastic film. It reminded me so much of the stuff that my buddy Phil and I used to show on our TV show in college, "Tuesday Night Terror." Phil was a huge horror movie buff, and he had a huge library of these absolutely dreadful movies: zombies, serial killers, and terribly fake monsters galore. So we decided to create a show where we would go onto the Vanderbilt TV station and show these movies with little "commercial breaks" thrown in where we would comment on the film and take calls. It was a blast, and best of all, I feel like it gave me the cultural vocabulary necessary to really appreciate a movie like Planet Terror.

Planet Terror is a zombie movie. And a love story. And an anti-military film. And a Texas movie. Above all, it's an action movie, and it doesn't stop the whole way through. It weaves its character development into the film in such a way that you begin to care about every character in the film without even really knowing anything about them.

Death Proof is a little harder to like, but I think that it will stand the test of time better than Planet Terror. It's the story of a psychotic stuntman who sets his sights on two different groups of women, with very different results. The film is almost two films, so much so that when Becca and I were talking about it afterwards we kept referring to things in it as being from two different movies. Tarantino manages to take himself out of the movie almost completely, avoiding for the large part his daring camera movements and overlong silences. He structures both segments of the movie with a very slow, very rich buildup that culminates in a chaotic and explosive ending. And, as always, he chooses his music impeccably. He unearths a killer version of "Baby It's You" by Smith, and he does for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich's "Hold Tight" what he did for "Misirlou" more than a decade ago.

If you're on the fence about seeing Grindhouse, do yourself a favor and block off three and a half hours for it. It's pure fun.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fascinating and slightly gross looking

Say hello to Walter R. Tschinkel, biologist at Florida State University. He poured plaster into an anthill and then excavated it. Really really cool, but it kind of gives me the willies.

Read his article about it here. It's got a lot more cool pictures.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Kylie you say?

Funny that Tara should mention my Kylie Minogue obsession in the comments of my last Feist post. I was having a conversation with my friends Ayasha and Jonnie about Kylie just the other day, and I had decided to do a post trying to pin down why I love her. So here goes. I don't think I'll get across why I love Kylie, but I will post a lot of cool videos!

For those who don't know, this is how Kylie began:

After that she became a one-hit wonder in the States, but overseas her popularity just grew. She was on a popular soap opera for a while, Neighbors, and she had a string of hits that culminated in the album Fever in 2001. It was a creative rebirth of sorts for her and spawned "Can't Get You Out of My Head" and several other infectious songs.

I never gave her much thought until I was over in England living for six months. It's funny how the British are about their pop stars. They have a much healthier attitude about pop than we do over here, mostly because their pop music is far better than ours. They have stars like Robbie Williams and Kylie who are treated like real musicians even though they are simply pop singers. They give dynamic performances of their songs and have a great grasp of showmanship.

Here are some of the best of her videos:

Her single best video, "Come Into My World" - a Michel Gondry joint:

"Where the Wild Roses Grow", with Nick Cave, not a great video but a pretty good song

"Can't Get You Out Of My Head" - pure sex

"Love At First Sight" - it's kind of embarrasing how good I think these videos are:

"Red Blooded Woman" - I don't really get this one, but I stopped caring about a minute in:

And, of coure, the brilliant commercial for Agent Provocateur, still one of the best commercials I've seen in terms of the effectiveness of its message:

So there you have it. My Kylie obsession is out in the open. I don't think people in the States will ever really get Kylie. We want our pop stars to be younger and younger, but Kylie has been doing it for twenty years now. She is making better music now than just about anyone over here, and she is doing so while proving that sex does not end after the age of thirty. In fact, it just gets better.

Feel free to yell at me in the comments if I have left off your favorite Kylie video.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Another great Feist video

This one via Stereogum.

Another single shot, but a bit less of a big dance number. This one reminds me a little more of Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" video, done by the incomparable Spike Jonze.

Miss Leslie is really doing some cool stuff. I think I may have a new crush...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

New Fiest video: 1234

I've avoided the Feist bandwagon so far, often against my better judgment. Not only is she cute as a button, she is a pretty damn good songwriter. Her new album, The Reminder, comes out May 1. I will be checking it out.

I thought that the idea of a big dance number in a music video was played out. I was wrong. This video just keeps getting cooler and cooler as it goes on. Very simple conceptually, very complex executionally. Nice.

This was via I Am Fuel, You Are Friends, a great music blog written by Colorado's Heather Browne.

Friday, April 13, 2007

All-time favorite Onion headlines

Some of my all-time favorites from the Onion:

Area Man Would Put That Meeting In His Top 5 All Time

Christ Returns to NBA

Vince McMahon's X-SPAN Promises Bone-Crunching Legislative Coverage

Picture of Lemur Printed For No Goddamned Reason

'Most E-Mailed' List Tearing New York Times' Newsroom Apart Recommendations Understand Area Woman Better Than Husband

Rebels Immediately Regret Seizing Power in Zambia

Nancy Pelosi Wants Congress to WANT to Pass Bill

Grapes "Big Hit" At Area Picnic

U.S. Trendsetters Go On Strike

Study: Alligators Dangerous No Matter How Drunk You Are

Drunk Will Show You, Everybody

Study: Dolphins Not So Intelligent On Land

These are just a few. Stroll through the archives sometime, it's a riot.

Andy's blog and nappy headed ho's

Hey all, just wanted to point you towards a terrific blog by my old high school buddy Andy Grayson. Andy is now a planner out at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, one of those agencies that everyone is trying to work for. He's really smart and takes great pictures as well.

I am torn over this whole Don Imus thing. On the one hand, I really don't like the guy. Never have. I've never liked shock jocks in general (or anyone who makes their career on the sole basis of pushing an envelope without real reason), and Imus always seemed to me to be the most boring of the bunch. But I gotta say this reaction by people is ridiculous. Cancel the guy's show because he's boring and repetitive, not because he's doing what you hired him to do. There's plenty of stuff that gets put into the public sphere every day that undermines the ambition and desire of children of all races. How about we cancel American Idol because it puts celebrity on a pedestal rather than achievement? How about we ban magazines like Cosmopolitan from the newsstands because they promote a distorted sense of beauty and encourage promiscuity? Having an honest discussion about things is always going to be better than the sort of reactionary actions taken by most corporations today in the face of negative public opinion. There's not enough genuinely interesting and engaging public debate going on. I hope we haven't lost the desire for it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thou Shalt Always Kill

Via Jay:


Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Heart David Lynch

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I've added a couple more blogs in my sidebar. Most are Adcenter...uh, school formerly known as Adcenter peeps. Enjoy them. Love them. Make babies with them.

I rediscovered my loves over the weekend: my little cousins Bagby and Parker. They are the most adorable people in the world. Becca and I met them at Aunt Sarah's on Sunday morning for pancakes and stuff.

We also got some plants this weekend. The little ones, from left to right, are Carly, James, and Jackson. The big one is Barry. We'll see how long we can keep them alive.

And Rasta, as always, is the coolest cat ever.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Foot Surgery 2.0

I had my left foot operated upon on Friday afternoon. It took less time than my right one did, but it's been hurting more in the few days afterwards. So I actually got my pain prescription filled this time. It was for Darvocet. It was my first experience with Darvocet, and I have to say that I am not impressed. It made me loopy, for sure, but it only marginally took the pain in my foot away and it made me dizzy for ten minutes after I took it. All in all I am not impressed, big pharmaceutical companies!

In other news Under Armour is now not ruling my life any more. For the next six weeks Yahoo will be. Yay.

That's all I got for now. My head hurts. And my foot hurts. I'm going to bed.