Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

By now, plenty has been written about the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I don't have a little story to go with this, because I'm sure whatever I say won't be nearly as impressive as any one anecdote from a friend of the respective talents.

I will say, though, that these deaths were quite surprising (especially in the case of the latter) and that they will be missed.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Double feature picture show.

Now, I love going to the movies (and that lengthy post explaining why is forthcoming, let me assure you). What I really love, but don't do enough of, is taking in several movies at a time in a day. Most times, I've seen two films in one day (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory & Fantastic Four in July 2005 and Borat & Flushed Away in November 2006, for example) and a rare triple feature in July of 2000 (Chicken Run, Scary Movie & X-Men).

Today, I decided to resurrect this little habit of mine with two comedies. One which has been celebrated by audiences and critics alike, the other I'd really been anticipating since I saw the trailer.

Let me be straight: I hadn't been expecting much from The Hangover. The trailer made me laugh, but the film wasn't a high priority. Feeling I was going to see it eventually, I gave in. Being the only person in the theater (I guess everyone's already seen it), I wasn't too worried about laughing too loudly, as I'm prone to do. The film transcends (but not too much) its Dude, Where's Our Groom? foundation thanks to some solid character dynamics and the chemistry between Bradley Cooper (whom I've long seen as Sack Lodge, but I'm getting over it), Ed Helms and Zach Galifiankis (whose uproarious stand-up act gets a nice reference in the police station scene). If they do make the sequel (which I'm a little surprised at; what, another effed-up morning after?), it'd be nice to see these guys together again. I'm not at all convinced that it deserves a spot on the IMDb's Top 250 list (#130, at last glance), but it's a fitfully funny (if sometimes disturbing; I really could've done without the used condom bit) movie that's fairly deserving of its success.

The trailer for Year One cracked me up, so, naturally, I was psyched to see the film. Honestly, who wouldn't be: Jack Black and Michael Cera together under the aegis of the man who helped bring about some of the funniest movies of the last three decades (Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day). A can't-miss proposition, right? Right? There were some scattered laughs and a number of familiar faces, but some fundamental problems cut the legs out from under the film: a) the overabundance of pointless grossout gags, like Black's Zed tasting excrement, Cera's Oh pissing on his face and having to rub oil on the hairy chest of the High Priest (Oliver Platt, looking strangely like Divine)...who would've thought that the R-rated comedy would end up less cringe-inducing than the PG-13 comedy?; b) gags getting stretched out long after they've ceased to be funny: the aforementioned shit-tasting, Cain (David Cross) lamenting the death of his brother Abel (Paul Rudd), which he performed several times and making sure that his story's straight with Zed and Oh; c) the artless innuendo, like Eema (Juno Temple) rubbing on the spears. Looking back, the stuff I loved in the trailer lost a lot in the context of the film. There was just a...laziness to the whole thing, like the makers felt that they didn't have to try; the fanbase would eat it up, regardless.

Hold up...scattered laughs, familiar actors in bits, overabundance of grossness, stretched-out gags, artless innuendo, overall laziness, built-in fanbase and two of the leads are a fat, big-mouthed moron and a younger person unnecessarily treated like crap...holy shit, this film was a live-action "Family Guy"! (Incidentally, imagining how Meg is punished on that show for the most minor of transgressions is a pretty strong argument for why I can't imagine seeing, much less enjoying, Drag Me to Hell.) The film wasn't quite Pink Panther 2 bad (and hearing "Yes, we can!" late in the film cracked me up), it ranks as a huge disappointment, the likes of which I hope I can avoid in the future.

(In the film's second half, I noticed the couple behind me getting hot and heavy. Thankfully, they didn't see me. I'm no peeping tom, but I must say that they were more entertaining than the action on screen. Seeing their own action, I definitely felt like I got my money's worth.)


Friday, June 19, 2009

I tell you, when it becomes difficult to buy something so simple as a fucking gift card, one can't help but question the purpose of gift-giving.

Also, a woman at my job said I was cute today. She was offended that I didn't thank her for the compliment. Whether a mere compliment or flirting, she was too old and not pretty enough.

Earlier in the week, a trio of girls flirted with me. All I felt like doing was processing the Western Union payment one of them was sending off.

In both cases, the women were Black. Shallow? Maybe I am. Racist? It really shouldn't count if it's against your own race. Maybe when I'm 35, still at the job and pushing 300 pounds, maybe, then, I'll be less picky.

For now, I just can't help but shake my head at these women embarassing themselves over wet dreams that I just don't feel like fulfilling.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

As part of a collection of forgotten films starring Jack Lemmon, Good Neighbor Sam has finally been released. It's a very funny movie, one of the most memorable aspects of which is the theme by Frank DeVol that appears every 15 minutes:

One reason that the underrated Nickelodeon cartoon series "The Angry Beavers" has such a huge place in my heart is Charlie Brissette's underscoring, which would routinely quote film music and various songs. The episode "Dag's List" opened with a battered Daggett stomping through the forest and muttering angrily (as is his wont). Brissette's take-off of DeVol's music made for a nice counterpoint, and I'm willing to wager that, in addition to the viewers at home, there may have been show staffers who missed the reference. One more delightful aspect of a hilarious episode.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009


No, I'm not dead, but with the way I've let this blog stagnate, who could blame you?

Now, I almost never do this, because (as I'm sure I've mentioned before) I don't like putting pressure on myself to get things done. However, here are some of the posts I'm working on:

- My own ballot for the MTV Movie Awards. Sure, the real ones have come and gone, but the nominees were something of a joke. I mean, did Twilight really need a nomination in every category?

- A long-winded post on what I love about movies and, in particular, the moviegoing experience. Having seen the likes of Star Trek, Up and The Brothers Bloom, I should be more inspired than ever.

- A review of one of the most prized CDs in my collection: a compilation of Kevin Manthei's superb "Invader Zim" music.

- A list of little things I've noticed about cartoons of today.

- In the spirit of my evisceration of that Heartbreak Kid remake, I shall take another cinematic piece of shit - that I have no intention of seeing - apart. (Hint: it's not Drag Me to Hell, though if I'm asked politely, I'll post something.)

- My favorite live-action gags in cartoons.

In a while.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Bill is dead.

The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique was not responsible.

In all seriousness, this is an immense shock. Granted, Carradine had done his fair share of schlock (including, most recently, a nearly-unrecognizable turn in Crank: High Voltage), but still, he left behind a pair of truly iconic roles: Caine on "Kung Fu" and (as I'm sure a lot of people - myself included - will remember him) Bill in Kill Bill.

He will be missed.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I know I said Monday. Give me a freakin' break.

Anyway, here's a rundown of what happened:

Saturday May 30th

4:19am I overhear my folks talking. Time to get up. Luckily, most of my stuff is already packed. I'm still hella nervous.
5:06am My parents take me to the airport. It's nice to know that they care enough about me to support my insane whims.
5:19am I get my tickets. Really good idea ordering from Travelocity. I can't help but explore the airport. The restaurants are serving breakfast sandwiches. I'm in more of a donut mood. A lot of reading material at the shops. Two magazine covers with Megan Fox. Seriously, what the hell? Another cover with Ewan McGregor. In a Cinematical article, when asked about the overrated starlet, he replied, 'Who's Megan Fox?'. Ewan McGregor is now one of my favorite actors.
6:00am They're boarding the first of my three flights. This express plane is...small. Don't think there will be a movie on this flight. Still, I can't fault the legroom.
6:28am We're in the air. It's a good 15 years since I've been on a plane.
6:40am Either we're flying over snowy peaks or stagnant clouds. I can vaguely make out land. Must be the latter.
7:28am Landing at Dulles. I can't help but tour this one, too. They have a Dunkin' Donuts. Breakfast is served.
7:50am Chocolate milk and a donut to match.
8:05am This plane is bigger than the last one, though the legroom isn't as bountiful. A real cutie on my direct left. She's texting someone; most likely a BFF or (dread!) her boyfriend. Not really up to asking. I really hate being single sometimes.
9:38am* The inflight movie is Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I've already seen it. I might as well catch up on the sleep I missed preparing for the trip. No pillows left, though. Damn.
10:47am* The flight's also playing TV shows. I take a chance on "The Big Bang Theory". Pretty funny, though I must say that Sheldon's kind of a douche.
11:11am* "How I Met Your Mother". Having some doubts about the premise stretching over several seasons, but not bad.
12:03pm* Freaking the fuck out. My connecting flight to Burbank leaves in eight minutes and there's a line? Why wouldn't there be a line? The guy who was on my right sets me straight. It's actually...
11:03am Hmmmm. Changing time zones sucks ass.
11:07am ...but not quite as much as delayed flights. I get to waste an extra hour at San Francisco International Airport. The FSM get-together starts at 1pm, so I was already going to be late. However, Lukas Kendall (FSM founder) gave me six words that a) have saved me $200 on this little safari; long story and b) will allow me to make acquaintances without guilt: "Come and go as you please!".
11:38am May as well get some lunch. I settle on Taquitos Dorados from a place called Andale. The meal turns out to be Spanish for 'Heaven on the taste buds, Hell on the intestines'.
12:09pm Catching up on the journal, and enjoying some tunes: Wrong Turn 2 by Bear McCreary.
1:05pm Note to self: when traveling in the future, avoid San Francisco. Talk about unprofessional.
1:16pm Another small plane. Manage to get some shots from the sky...once I figure out how to put in the memory card.
2:28pm Burbank, finally. Just need to pick up my suitcase.
2:59pm My own hotel room. Can't help but wonder if 'hotel room smell' is an actual fragrance.
3:09pm Since the FSM get-together is in Hollywood, I'm forced to take a cab. I see the sights with a genial driver at the wheel.
3:42pm Crossroads of the World. If only it were open. To hell with this. I noticed a music store on the cab ride up. I take a chance.
4:21pm Amoeba Music. By all the names of God, where has this place been my whole life?! For the first time in too long, I'm excited about buying used soundtracks from a music store.
4:38pm The Arclight Theater is next door. I wanted to see The Brothers Bloom. Wait, twelve dollars...for one movie?! Not even if I was made of money.
5:05pm I follow the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So many stars, some of them twice. David Niven and Jack Benny, I know you were great, but share the wealth, huh?
5:24pm I manage to find the latest issue of Creative Screenwriting. Of course, they'd have a bunch of copies out here. Why is it so hard to find at home?
5:34pm Dinner at Molly's. A chili dog, onion rings and root beer.
5:45pm I hail a cab back to the hotel. All I want to do when I get back is veg out.
6:07pm I call home. The time difference necessitated it. I'm disturbingly homesick. I tell you, I could not handle the life of a traveling salesman.
7:50pm Just gonna watch TV until I'm sleepy. "Star Trek" was right: having isn't as great a thing as wanting.

Sunday May 31st

3:06amI can't sleep a blessed wink. I manage to get some shut-eye, but I'm just not comfortable...and given the bed, that's really saying something. I flip through the limited channel selection, settling on a rerun of "Law and Order: SVU", about a family of homeless people. One was played by Mae Whitman and given how much I've heard her voice ("Arrested Development", "Fillmore", "American Dragon Jake Long"), it's depressing that I couldn't recognize her right off.
6:05am Still couldn't sleep. I call home. Mom was right. I should travel in a controlled setting (i.e., not just traipsing across the country on my own). She and Dad enocurage me that this is an experience and that I'll know what to do in the future.
7:08am I give up on any pretense of wanting sleep. I listen to a couple of the CDs I bought. Goldsmith's Medicine Man (which sounds better here than it did years ago on Deconstructing Goldsmith - RIP)...
7:49am ...and Isham's The Black Dahlia. Nice, brassy score. Can't wait for his signature.
8:05am Kung Fu Panda is on HBO. This drags me out of my funk.
8:58am Time for a shower. Soap's smaller than I'm used to, but, hey, it's a hotel.
9:45am Not wanting the ludicrous room service prices added to an already pricey bill, I head down for breakfast. Eggs, hash browns, sausage and toast. Tasty, once I get hold of a salt shaker.
10:17am They have internet access! Been missing it, let me tell you. Of course, you have to pay for it.
10:45am While I wait for the shuttle driver to return, I take some pics of the hotel.
11:22am Pretty early for the signing. I saw a comic book shop on the way. Might be worth checking out.
11:36am Emerald Knights Comics. Some nice old issues of "She-Hulk".
11:50am Pick up batteries for my camera. Damn, does that thing eat them up.
12:55pm Dark Delicacies. Like Mecca for horror buffs. I pick up some CDs: Rubinstein's Whose Life is it Anyway? and Young's Species and The Grudge 2. I look around, not even disguising how out of place I feel. I really need to work on that.
1:11pm I get a number - 28 - that is to be called so I can meet the composers. I also win a prize: a Drag Me to Hell hat. It's like the 2 Fast 2 Furious hat I have at home; on the one hand, it's a bit of memorabilia from a movie I have no interest in seeing. On the other, hey, free hat.
1:32pm They start to arrive: Bear McCreary talks with who I believe were soundtrack producers. I step aside so Ken Thorne can hobble past. I get a snap of Stu Phillips (old "Galactica") and McCreary (new "Galactica") chatting. I bump into Mark Isham. I have a quick exchange with Harry Manfredini. The urge to pinch myself is overwhelming.
2:15pm The fans, all clutching various CDs, liner notes and DVD/video jackets, wait outside, myself included. The sun beats down on us. Several conversations about movies, filmmusic, what have you. A little old woman (one of the store's owners? I didn't think to ask.) calls numbers 1-10. The lucky sumguns go in. It gets hotter. My backpack starts to hurt from all the crap stuffed in it, much like high school. Numbers 11-20. I take a seat on the pavement and sort through my many liner notes, organizing them by the seating chart. Numbers 21-26. By now, am severely tempted to pull a Beetlejuice.
2:58pm Numbers 27, 28, 29 and 30. Hot damn! I figure there's a line, but I can just go up to the composers I want to see.
- Bear McCreary: I tell him I love his Wrong Turn 2 score, using the word, 'eclectic'. It's one of his favorites, he tells me. I ask him to personalize the signature 'To Tor'. He's taken aback by the name, a recurring motif of the event. Lisa Coleman (of Wendy and Lisa, "Heroes"), overhearing, sounds surprised.
- Arthur B. Rubinstein: I gush over WarGames, though it's half-heard over the crowd. I tell him my name. He tells me that it's another word for the top of a mountain, a fact that, until this moment, I'm wholly unaware of. He probably thinks I'm a jackass.
- Michael Giacchino: With his son, it looked like. I tell him how I loved his thematic interpolations in Star Trek and especially Speed Racer. The messages he signs reflect the respective projects.
- Mark Isham: He signs Racing Stripes and The Black Dahlia for me. I like the scores, but am at a loss as to what to say.
- Richard Band: "You don't know how many of your CDs I've bought in the last couple of years. Your music's incredible." He signs Re-Animator (the fourth release of this score, if you can believe it).
- Christopher Young: He's sure we've met before. I don't know. Maybe in a past life. He has the most CDs (3) of any composer whose work I've added to my collection this weekend.
3:29pm I call the hotel for a shuttle ride back, but not before I return to Emerald Knights for a much-needed beverage.
4:02pm Back at the hotel. I pack a final time (didn't need my raincoat) and flip around the TV. Antz is on Cartoon Network.
4:26pm I ride the shuttle back to Bob Hope Airport, saying farewell to the driver. Very nice guy.
5:02pm I call home. I tell my parents of the upward turn the vacation has taken.
5:27pm The flight's a good while away. Sunset Boulevard by Franz Waxman. I may not have gone to the get-together (that was held on Sunset) like I wanted, but this music was getting played, damnit.
6:35pm ...and onto Rubinstein's WarGames.
8:22pm The flight finally arrives. I grumble as I board the flight. Hopefully, things will get better.
10:07pm Things do not get better. My connecting flight is set to leave in a matter of minutes. I'm nowhere near the airport. It's debatable if I'm even near land. I see some water below. I seriously mull pulling the emergency exit and making a jump for it.
10:16pm The flight attendant comes by. I ask when the flight will land. She says something about having to take off again. I can hardly hear her over my ensuing breakdown. Cody Jarrett's in seat 9A and he just found out his mother died.
10:20pm I call home (in spite of the time difference). Mom picks up. I explain the situation to her. The call cuts off. I'm thinking, 'She thinks something's happened to me'. I get madder than ever. I try again a little later, convinced I'm going to be stranded in San Francisco. She placates me by saying that I'll just have to catch a later flight.
10:29pm Just as I call for the head of the pilot (mainly so I can shit down his neck), the plane lands. I rush like a madman through the terminal. My connecting flight now leaves at 11:50. I still want that deuce/neckhole interaction.
11:17pm I waste time at a pay-internet terminal. Hey, it relaxes me.
11:38pm I'm in a group to be seated last and am, thus, forced to wait. Ugh.
11:55pm The flight takes off. The in-flight movie is Bride Wars. The sleep that eluded me the night before comes much easier now...just as it would've had I seen the film in theaters. (Ba-zing!)

Monday June 1st

8:10am The flight lands at Washington-Dulles without a it should.
8:35am The final take-off.
8:56am At long last, I get some in-flight snack food: a trail mix of pretzels, cheese crackers and almonds. I wolf down the whole bag and save another for later. I lament not taking a few more bags.
9:48am I'm back in Buffalo and back on the ground. I had seen a smoothie place - one I'd frequented in college - before I left Saturday morning and I swore I'd get one upon my return. Orange Sunrise. How I've missed it.
10:07am I wait on the upper level for my mom to pick me up.
10:21am She comes for me. Apparently, the upper level is for departures and the lower level is for arrivals. We hurry downstairs before her car gets ticketed.

And so, that's the story. What did I learn? I would say keep your head on straight, but that's not taking into account the occasional incompetence of the airlines. Having a good time is key, as is knowing how to insert a good memory card.

By the way, the times are, for the most part, approximate, especially those marked with '*'.

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