Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bwa ha ha ha ha . . .

Chris Gore (AOTS's film reviewer) posted this on Twitter today and I was rolling on the floor. I always feel sad for people like this.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thank God for Netflix!

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. We had wonderful traditions when I was growing up . . . decorating the house, trips to Vala's Pumpkin Patch (singing Pumpkin Carols on the way), watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "A Garfield Halloween" on TV, hot cider steeped with cloves, carving pumpkins, creating elaborate construction paper witches, watching the costume-making process as my mom laboriously worked on beautiful outfits, costume parties with my parents' friends, and trick or treating with my Dad (wearing his arrow-through-the-head, as always).

As an adult, I've kept a few of the originals (decorating, hot cider, "Great Pumpkin" and "Garfield Halloween", and carving pumpkins) and developed some of my own traditions, mostly around watching mass quantities of scary movies. I read Ghost Story by Peter Straub every year around this time, and after reading John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In, I may add that as well. As far as guilty pleasures go, Bravo shows it's countdown of "100 Scariest Movie Moments" and AMC usually runs all three Omen movies on Halloween night. To my shock and horror, neither one of these events is taking place this year! Bravo, in between inane repeats of "Housewives of Orange County" has "13 Scarier Movie Moments", which is a measly 1 hour long special, and there is no mention of the Omen films anywhere on the TV Guide schedule. Luckily, I've been able to watch the "Scariest Movie Moments" special online (not quite as good, but better than nothing) and thanks to Netflix, I will be spending my Halloween with Damien Thorne once again.

Another of my favorite Halloween traditions is the Midnite Movie at the Esquire Theater here in Denver. Although the Midnite Movie runs throughout the year on weekends, they always pick an especially scary film for the week of Halloween. This year does not disappoint, as the flick will be The Exorcist! See it this weekend . . . if you dare!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WHEATON!!! (WARNING: Serious Spoilers for this Week's "Big Bang Theory")

Seriously, how awesome was Wil Wheaton in this week's "Big Bang Theory"? He didn't have a huge role, but it was sooo funny to see him lay the smack down on Sheldon. (Especially since I have a hunch he's a super nice guy in real life.) Raj was also pretty hilarious and it's nice to see that his character is getting more good lines. (My personal favorite so far: "I swear to cow.") Another refreshing new development: Howard actually connected with a girl without totally creeping her out!

The nice thing about the series is that the secondary characters can pick up the slack where the main characters fall a bit flat. As happy as I was to see Leonard and Penny hook up, their relationship isn't a sparky as it was when Leonard loved her from afar. (Hopefully it's just a transitional period.) The finally getting together can suck the life out of most shows. Perfect example: Robin and Barney's relationship is killing "How I Met Your Mother". I mean, come on, a huge part of the show is Barney scoring with random chicks and being an ass. Luckily for "Big Bang" all of the recurring characters are strong performers, which makes the damage minimal. (There were some cute moments with them, though. I loved the Google bit.) I think as long as they play up the other characters strengths, Leonard and Penny can be as cutesy-wutesy as they wanna be (well . . . almost).

Incidentally, Wil Wheaton has a pretty awesome blog (with a post about tonight's episode). Check it out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Certified Gleek

I love Fox's "Glee". Unfortunately for the show, this pretty much seals its doom. Every show I've loved and been excited to watch (with the exceptions of "Big Bang Theory" and "Mad Men") has been swiftly cancelled with little to no mercy. Don't believe me? Look at the fates of "My So-Called Life", "Popular", "Freaks and Geeks", "Carnivale", "Dead Like Me", and most depressing of all - "Pushing Daisies." (By the way, someone owes Bryan Fuller big time.) It seems like any time a show is a little to close to home or a little too quirky, the network gods squash it into a crimson stain on the TV Guide schedule. I understand that it has to do with ratings and viewers and all that crap, but it's really frustrating seeing mind-numbing shows like "Flavor of Love" (which had several seasons!), "Real World" (seriously, they're still making these?), and "American Idol/Dancing with the Stars/So You Think You Can Dance", et al become a part of the American lexicon. I am a firm believer that you lose IQ points watching these shows. And a smart, fun, unusual show can't catch a break. What is wrong with this picture?

"Glee", like all the shows that were mercilessly cancelled after their 1st or 2nd season, is amazing. It deserves a fair shot, but it probably won't get one. Not enough people are watching it or not enough of the right people are watching it. There will be some lame excuse as to why it won't get picked up and television viewers will suffer for it. And then when the next awesome show comes along, we'll get attached and love it, and it, too, will die a premature death.

I hate to be so pessimistic, but unfortunately, I've been burned too many times. I sincerely hope that "Glee" gets the chance it so richly deserves, but I have to be prepared for the worst. I'm crossing my fingers for it to get picked up again, but at the very least if it's going to end, I'm hoping it doesn't end with a cliffhanger. Or is that too much to ask, Fox?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I posted my list of top five zombie movies and realized that there is SO much zombie stuff right now.

Kris, who is not a big reader, devoured (pun intended) Max Brooks's World War Z and Zombie Survival Guide (which was actually a birthday present for me, thank you very much!). Brooks presents the zombie apocalypse as an eventuality that the world must prepare for and the Survival Guide instructs you on how to defend yourself against the walking dead. World War Z is the "history" of the life-as-we-know-it ending war against the zombies. If you are a zombie fan, these are essential for your library.

The Starz channel, which has some of the best documentaries on horror flicks (Fantastic Flesh is amazing . . . find it on Netflix), is currently running Zombiemania on Starz OnDemand. There are interviews with George Romero, makeup and FX specialists Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero, and Max Brooks, among others. It pretty much goes into detail about most of the movies I discussed in my previous post and discusses the cultural significance of zombies.

There are countless zombie fiction books out there, bordering on becoming a separate genre, but the most surprising example combines fine English literature and the awesomeness of zombies. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Seth Grahame-Smith, with a co-author credit for Jane Austen) inserts a zombie warrior subplot into the original text of Pride and Prejudice. I have read excerpts, but the cover alone is hilarious enough to want to buy it. (Also available from Grahame-Smith - Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters). There is also a wealth of zombie graphic novels, and capitalizing on the success of Zombie Survival Guide are books like Zombies for Zombies, etc.

There are, of course, the zombie video games as well . . . multitudinous Resident Evils and the more recent Left 4 Dead series.

And finally, while it's not technically about zombies, Stephen King's Cell is reminiscent of the zombie genre and offers the same social commentary found in most zombie fiction and films. Even if you are not a King fan (which you should be), it is an awesome book. The book on tape (available through bookstores and iTunes) is a great alternative due to the excellent voice work of veteran actor Campbell Scott.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Being a huge zombie movie fan, I had to see Zombieland. Kris and I went to see it on opening night, and we weren't disappointed. It was funny, gory, and full of pop culture references - everything we could ask for in a zombie movie. I highly recommend the flick. See it with zombie-loving friends. I'd say more, but I don't want to give anything away.

It did get me thinking about my favorite zombie movies, and I've compiled a list of my top five.*

#5: Day of the Dead (George Romero, 1985) Straight-forward zombie apocolypse flick that would be unmemorable if not for six little words . . . . "Choke on 'em! Choke on 'em!" (This clip has fairly gory special effects, so not for the faint of heart. Click at your own risk.)

#4: Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968) The original and quintessential zombie flick makes the list for the nearly unprecedented use of an African-American hero and the distopic ending. It's also got a creepy kid zombie and is pretty darn scary for using chicken cutlets as body parts.

#3: Fido (Andrew Currie, 2006) It has an awesome cast (Scottish comedian Billy Connolly and Matrix star Carrie-Anne Moss) and a kitschy-cool storyline. After a cataclysmic zombie war in an alternate universe 1950s, zombies are captured, collared, and turned into servants. It's funny and sweet and satirical, which sounds counterintuitive for a zombie movie, but it definitely works. Highly underrated and worth the watch.

#2: Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer, 2009) . . . yes it is that good. Go see it to find out why.

#1: Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright 2004) Zombie purists may scoff, but Shaun of the Dead has it all. Underdog heroes, comic relief, nods to other films in the genre, loads of pop culture references, human and zombie killings alike, and scads of quoteable lines.

*Remember, these are MY top five, not the end all and be all of zombie movies. I'm sure you have your own list and your own reasons for ranking them as such.

By the way . . . you've got red on you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Can Someone Please Call the Whaambulance?

This is a digression from my regular topics, but here goes: It's official . . . the Phillies fans are whiny babies. I'm not a fan of baseball (I could care less if the Rockies go to the Series), but even I am sick of the Phillies fans moaning about the times of the game not being "convenient" and the temperature making it hard for their guys to play. Guess what? When our teams have to play on the East Coast at 7:00, we're all still at work and that's inconvenient for us too. No one here cries into their beer and threatens to call the commissioner. And if they did, we'd tell them the same thing: Get over it. As for the temperature, not only is Philadelphia cold, it's also humid, which makes the cold ten times worse. At least we're in a dry climate and you don't feel like the wind is going to slice you open with a knife. If you're really a serious fan, you'll suck it up and spend your time rooting for your team instead of threatening to write Major League Baseball letters that will do absolutely jack.

Friday, October 2, 2009

You Are Travelling Through Another Dimension . . .

Today is the 50th anniversary of one of my favorite shows . . . "The Twilight Zone". The Sci-Fi Channel (and not the Sy Fy Channel . . . I categorically refuse to spell it that way) ran a mini-marathon of the show, which usually makes it's appearance on odd holidays (Labor Day, 4th of July, New Year's Eve). But more importantly . . . Bif Bang Pow Toys is releasing a trio of "Twilight Zone" bobbleheads in honor of the milestone!

There's the Talky Tina bobblehead from the episode "Living Doll" (starring Telly Savalas, pre-Kojak fame). The bobblehead talks, saying her memorable line "My name is Talky Tina and I'm going to kill you!" The price for this item is $17.99, due to the talking feature.

The second in the series is the spacetastic Invader Bobblehead from the episode "The Invaders", starring Agnes Moorhead(Endora from "Bewitched"). It retails for $12.99.

And finally, from one of my favorite episodes, "Nick of Time" (starring William Shatner), there's the Mystic Seer bobblehead. Fashioned to look like the dinerrific tabletop fortune teller, this bobblehead comes with fortune-telling cards. It is also $12.99

You can pre-order yours at for November delivery! I know I will!