Monthly Archives: November 2008

Who Knew Jon Stewart was a Good Singer?

This is my generation’s Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown! all rolled into one:

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With Apologies to Johnny Nash

I can see clearly now, the tint is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my car’s way,
Gone are the windows that made me blind*,
It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) no-ticket day,

I think I can make it now the glass is clear,
I will pay my fine right away,
Though I think Missouri law is dumb,
It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) no-ticket day,

Look around, there’s nothin’ but clear glass,
Look straight ahead, nothin’ but clear glaaaaaAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAaaaaaaaass,

I can see clearly now the tint is gone,
There are no troopers demading that I pay,
Gone are the dark panels that got me stopped**,
It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) no-ticket day.

* supposedly

** twice

Stop It.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “lame” as:

  • Crippled or physically disabled, esp. in the foot or leg so as to limp or walk with difficulty
  • Impaired or disabled through defect or injury: as in, a lame arm.
  • Weak; inadequate; unsatisfactory; clumsy: as in, “Webster’s Dictionary defines _____ as _____” is a lame rhetorical device.

Can’t we all put aside our difference and agree that no one beyond middle school is allowed to begin a thought with such a lame, LAME phrase?

Max Payne, 1/5

Rated PG-13. Click here to view the trailer.

A word of advice to the people who perpetrated Max Payne on the unsuspecting public: when you’re making a bad movie, it’s best not to choose a title with a homophone of “pain” in the title. And don’t lie to me, you knew you were making a bad movie. We’re talking Elektra-bad here, folks.

There’s absolutely nothing right with this movie. It’s so bad, it’s beyond the realm so-bad-it’s-good. When Ludacris turns in the best acting performance in a movie that includes Mark “Say Hi to Your Mother For Me” Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Olga Kurylenko, three actors I actually really like, something somewhere has gone horribly wrong. In this case, it’s pretty much everything, not the least of which is that the movie is based on a just-slightly above average video game from the late 90s, yet doesn’t resemble it in the slightest.

Max Payne (Wahlberg, acting as if he’s high on horse tranquilizers) is dark and brooding NYC detective. He’s pissed off at the world and lets you know it. His wife and baby son were murdered several years ago and he spends his nights tracking the killers down. Sasha (Kurylenko) might be able to lead him to someone that knows what happened, but before she can help, she is brutally murdered and Max is framed for the crime by Luda. With the help of Sasha’s sister (Kunis), he breaks free and goes on a murderous rampage. It sounds halfway interesting, but it’s not. Trust me.

Did I mention there are demonic valkyries patrolling the airspace of New York, ready to snatch people up and shred them to mincemeat with their large talons? ‘Cause yeah, there are totally demonic valkyries patrolling the airspace of New York, ready to snatch people up and shred them to mincemeat with their large talons. Napoleon Dynamite would be terrified.

You should be too.

Bolt, 4/5

Rated PG. Click here to view the trailer.

ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF slightly above average lost-dog-finds-his-way-home story saved by quirky pigeons and a feisty hamster ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF John Travolta makes a good dog ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF Miley Cyrus’s unusually deep voice bothers me ARF ARF ARF ARF Hey, they just got in a Finding Nemo dig ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF who is Susie Essman and who decided she’d make a good cat? ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF. Pretty good little CGI cartoon, though certainly not a Pixar-instant classic ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF nice shout out to Missouri! ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF it’s worth watching for the pigeons ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF.

Role Models, 4/5

Rated R. Click here to view the trailer.

Role Models is a hopeful, funny little movie with a great personality. It’s just that it hides behind an such abrasive front, that I didn’t notice it until the brilliant and inspired final act. It’s a lot like the children asigned to “big brothers” Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd: They all might take a little coaxing to come out of their shell, but there’s something worth loving in there. On three, everybody: Awwwwwwwwwwwww.

Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott) are two energy drink salesmen who go around with a distinct lack of energy as they peddle their noxious “Minotaur” at area schools. Wheeler is an optimistic slacker who enjoys the fact that he can do his job well while hungover and/or high, which is one of the few perks of dressing like a minotaur all day. Danny is a depressed underachiever who is having trouble with his lawyer girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks), his job, the local coffee shop, a surly tow truck driver and pretty much the rest of the world.

After a particularly bad day, they run afoul the law and are faced with two options: 30 days jail, or 150 hours of community service with Sturdy Wings, a Big Brothers, Big Sisters knock-off run by former coke-fiend Jane Lynch. Danny is assigned to Augie (the perpetually congested McLovin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a nerd of epic proportions who lives for medieval reenactment/role playing events . Wheeler’s young charge is Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson), an incredibly “challenging” 10-year-old who is every adult’s nightmare. The “Bigs” and “Littles” venture out into the world together and hilarity ensues. But here’s the thing: Hilarity actually ensues. I know. I was just as surprised as you.

It’s those genuine laughs and again, the surprise third act, that pull it all together. The cast is superb and they milk the script (co-written by Rudd) for all it’s worth. Rudd has a goofy smile and wry delivery that would make you laugh as he read a Waffle House menu, and Scott is just enough of a wise-cracking jerk to be a really great, really funny friend. Mintz-Plasse and Thompson bring depth to what could have easily been throw away roles and Jane Lynch, well, God bless her, she’s just awesome.

Sure, we see where things are going (Bigs and Littles dislike/distrust each other initially, they go on various adventures, slowly bond, there’s a crisis where they “break up,” then they eventually form a friendship stronger than any court order as the closing credits roll). That’s mostly the case here, but there are actual, genuine laughs along the away and there’s a surprise final act that I don’t think anyone in their right mind saw coming. There are hints along the way, but it’s just so out there that it’s still a surprise. Who knew that was still possible in today’s movie world? Kudos to Rudd and his writing partners for playing things close to the chest then springing things on us at the exact right time.

Yes, it deserves its R rating, but beyond its crass facade, Role Models is pretty warm and cuddly inside.

Well THAT was an $83 lunch break

They say you learn something new everyday. Today’s lesson, boys and girls, is that just because you’ve only received one ticket for “excessive vision reduction materials” in the past three years, it doesn’t mean you can safely assume it’ll be another three years before some bored highway patrolman pounces.

When this happened back in June, I decided that I would just keep my 85 percent tint (the legal limit is 65) and take my chances. I’d been driving in Missouri for more than three years, had had a cop inspect my vehicle after that hit-and-run garbage truck AND driven alongside literally dozens of highway patrol cruisers each day (the MOHP HQ is on my way to work) AND had two safety inspections with no problems. One stop in three years? I’ll pay the $83 and keep my awesome windows.

As it turns out, I only had three months, not three more years before it caught up with me. I acknowledged that I’d been stopped for this before (better to admit it than to have him punch it up on the computer) and he asked me why I hadn’t removed it. “Cashflow” I said, which is mostly true. I resent having my cash paid to remove something so petty. He said I could pick it off with my fingernail so there was no excuse. For the record, I picked at it the entire time he was writing me the ticket and couldn’t remove a single speck. I guess I’ll have to go at it with a razor blade.

So yeah. I’m frustrated with myself (it’s embarrassing to admit you ignored the law because you thought you’d get away with it), mad that I have to drop $83 and even more annoyed that I’m going to have to figure out a way to lose my tint.

I know I broke the law (twice) and I certainly didn’t argue with the officer. I’ll dutifully sign the line, plead guilty and pony up the $83. But come on. TWICE now you’ve pulled a u-ey, crossed the median and chased me down for tint? I’d understand if I had been speeding (even a little bit) and you tacked it on, but come on.

If you’re reading, President-elect Obama, I suggest that your new economic stimulus package include a moratorium on tint tickets. YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!