May 18, 2004

Lucas Strikes Back

Ain't It Cool News has posted this screen capture allegedly taken from the upcoming DVD release of the original Star Wars trilogy:


I looks a bit like a Photoshop job to me. Still, if Lucas is really planning to go down this road, it seems a bit unfair that Dark Side poster boy Anakin would get to spend eternity with a hip, youthful astral projection, whereas good guys Obi-Wan and Yoda get stuck as a septuagenarian and a Muppet, respectively.

Posted by Jess at 04:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 16, 2004

The historical epic: Hollywood's Achilles heel

Evil Doug has posted a short review of the recently-released Troy. I've reproduced an excerpt below. Be forewarned, however, that this post may contain minor spoilers for a 2,800-year-old story (not to mention a really bad Gene Shalit impression toward the end):

...okay, here'e my problem, mates. Briseis is with Achilles, right? He just killed dozens upon dozens of her countrymen AND at his order, her temple was sacked and her fellow priests killed AND Achilles himself beheaded the statue of the god she had sworn her service to. Okay...that known...what was up with her putting the knife to his throat...then getting him to say that he'll kill even more people if she doesn't kill him...and then HAVING SEX WITH HIM?!?!?!?


He DEFILED her temple, KILLED her countrymen, and she gets all hot for him? HUH?!?!

Sure, it's a little odd that a woman who has devoted her life to serving as an Apollonian virgin would give it all up to sleep with the guy who just killed her fellow priests and is currently in the process of sacking her city (when he isn't off sulking in his tent, of course). What I found even stranger, though, was how Briseis would go from being all dirty during her dialogue scenes with Achilles, with dishevelled hair and a blood-smeared face, to being completely glammed-out during the sex scenes -- and right back to looking haggard afterwards.

pitt_troy_set2.jpgI guess the best way to sum up my overall impression of Troy is "silly." It's wasn't necessarily bad -- just laughable at times due to cheesy performances (Agamemnon), weak characterization (the aforementioned Achilles/Briseis relationship, as well as the portrayal of Orlando Bloom's Paris), and goofy costuming choices (check out Brad Pitt's lovely azure skirt and midriff-baring blouse ensemble pictured to the right). In fact, the entire time I was watching Troy, I couldn't help but think about how much more I would enjoy seeing a big-screen adaptation of The Odyssey -- due in some part, I suppose, to the fact that Sean Bean's Odysseus was one of the few truly compelling characters in the film.

Taking into account the pretty cast of actors and actresses (although it's still up for debate whether or not Diane Kruger, who portrays the world's most beautiful woman, is actually prettier than Orlando Bloom), the special effects wizardry, and the frenetic battle scenes, Troy is certainly a visually impressive film -- almost like some kind of gigantic wooden animal statue. Once it rolls into the theater and the audience lets its guard down, however, out pops a very mediocre movie.

My Gene Shalit review: "Jennifer Aniston's boy-Troy Brad is the Pitts in this Greek-to-me epic. Trust me, I'm not Trojan Horsing around here -- Troy fails to hit a Homer. Even though Brad might have the face that's launched a thousand hits (at the box office), this film just made me feel ill-iad."

Posted by Jess at 11:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 15, 2004

The Justice Ponies of America

Sometimes, when you're surfing the web, you discover a site that blows you away with clever content, elegant design, and beautiful graphics. Other times, you stumble across a guy who's repainted a bunch of My Little Pony dolls to resemble members of the Justice League of America. Allow me to introduce Batpony, the Martian Ponyhunter,, the Green Pony Lantern:

The Dark Hoofed Detective J'onn P'onzz

In brightest hay, in darkest night...

You can view the rest of the Justice Ponies of America here.

Posted by Jess at 08:45 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 07, 2004

The latest object of my misplaced reality TV scorn

Dost my ears deceive, or did resident Survivor All-Stars idiot Big Tom attribute the quotation "Et tu, Brute?" to Jesus during last night's tribal council?

I think you're a little confused there, Big Tom. Jesus actually said, "Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you, but don't ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever." The "Et tu, Brute?" line was what Hulk Hogan said to Randy Savage right before the Megapowers exploded at Wrestlemania V.

P.S. Thanks again, Big Tom, for your tireless efforts in perpetuating every negative stereotype associated with people from rural Appalachia for a worldwide television audience that may never have a chance to meet someone from the region.

Posted by Jess at 08:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 27, 2004

Do you Yahoo?

So, have you seen the new split-screen Yahoo commercial featuring Al Franken and Ben Stein discussing how Democrats and Republicans use the search engine differently? Here's a transcript:

Ben Stein: Democrats use Yahoo search for hugging trees, protecting little itty-bitty insects...

Al Franken: Republicans will check Yahoo news for the latest on, uh...large boats.

Stein: Republicans use Yahoo to find friends...

Franken: Yachts.

Stein: To do charitable work...

Franken: Yachts.

Stein: To do volunteer work to bring this country together, to make it a better, more loving country.

Franken: A lot of them get their trophy wives on Yahoo.

Voiceover: Politics engine, commentary engine, life engine -- Yahoo!

Pretty funny stuff. You can view the commercial online here.

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April 20, 2004

Knee deep in the hoopla

Mac recently made note of Blender's list of the 50 Worst Artists in Music History. Now, it seems that the magazine has published a list of the worst songs ever. Coming out on top (or is that bottom?) is Starship's "We Built This City." I really can't argue with those findings, although I probably would have gone with "Hotel California" instead. Man, I hate that song.

Other "favorites" on Blender's list include "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus (#2), "Party All the Time" by Eddie Murphy (#8), as well as some controversial picks like the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and Simon and Garfunkle's "Sound of Silence."

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April 17, 2004

Where does he get those wonderful toys?

Andy brought to my attention these photos of the Batmobile from the upcoming Bat-flick, Batman Begins:

It's just not Batman unless Prince is doing the soundtrack.

Or Batman busts out the Bat-Credit Card.

Oooookay. I think Andy described it best as a cross between a Lamborghini and a Hummer. For simplicity's sake, I think I'll call it the Bat-Humborghini.

Speaking of which, have you ever wondered where Bruce Wayne finds suppliers and manufacturers for all his cool bat-equipment? It seems like his eccentric orders might raise an eyebrow or two around the company water cooler. "Hey, Bob -- have you ever noticed that we seem to ship an awful lot of black fiberglass shaped like stylized bats and bat wings to Wayne Enterprises? I wonder what that's all about."

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April 15, 2004

Can't get enough reality television

Mark me down as a fan of meta-reality television -- i.e. shows that not only skewer the conventions of the reality television genre, but also give the media whores desperate enough for their fifteen minutes of "fame" that they would appear on reality television in the first place their just desserts. That's why it warms the cockles of my heart to read about the WB's upcoming Superstar USA and the second season of Spike TV's Joe Schmo.

As the name suggests, Superstar USA is a take-off on the never-ending talent show that is American Idol. The twist? Superstar USA's panel of three judges (including such music industry luminaries as Tone-Loc and Vitamin C) "mock the vocally gifted while Paula Abduling* the truly tune-challenged." Of course, the contestants aren't in on the joke. Eventually, the "winner" -- that is, the very worst of the worst -- brings home the title of Superstar USA, as well as a $100,000 grand prize in exchange for being made a laughingstock on national television over the course of several weeks. Sounds fair enough to me.

Meanwhile, Joe Schmo 2 will spoof romance/relationship shows like The Bachelor and Average Joe, introducing an unsuspecting Jane and Joe Schmo into the faux reality show-within-a-show, "Last Chance for Love." Much like the first Joe Schmo, all the other "Last Chance" contestants are actors following a script full of shocking plot twists and everything else we've come to expect from the genre. Kevin Kay, Spike TV's Executive Vice President of Programming and Production, has the following to say in the network's press release: "We know that guys despise reality relationship shows, so what better genre to mess with on behalf of guys everywhere." Again, that sounds fair enough to me.

Personally, I just hope that they figure out a way for the first season's Pimped-Out Immunity Robe to make a return appearance in Joe Schmo 2.

*For those keeping score at home, I guess "Paula Abduling" is now a verb.

Posted by Jess at 04:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 13, 2004

The Squirrel is Mine

Somehow, this photo helps put Bob Dylan appearing in Victoria's Secret ads into perspective.

It's me best mate -- an anthropomorphic squirrel.

First spotted at VH1's Best Week Ever Blog.

Posted by Jess at 03:58 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 05, 2004

She's real, you know

Mac links to the news this morning that Jennifer Lopez will be the guest of honor in an upcoming episode of Inside the Actors Studio with host James Lipton. I couldn't resist cross-posting my comment:

"Miss redefined the craft -- nay, art! -- of sketch comedy dancing with your resplendent work as a 'Fly Girl' on what may very well have been the defining comedic achievement of the last century...a show known as In Living Color. 'You can do what you want to do...' went the theme song to that magnificent show. Well, Miss Lopez -- J.Lo, if I may -- America did what it wanted to do. And. It. Watched. Falling in love along the way with a certain young dancer who would go on not only to revolutionize her chosen profession of dance, but also the fine arts of acting and creating marginally listenable pop music, as well. Miss Lopez, it is an honor to have you here today."

"So, tell us about your work in Anaconda."

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April 01, 2004

Making fun of George Lucas is like shooting wamp rats in a barrel

Of all the April Fools' gags I stumbled across on the Web today, my favorite by far is this page of "leaked" clips from the upcoming Star Wars Original Trilogy DVDs -- complete with tongue-in-cheek commentary from "George Lucas" himself!

Update (10:55PM): Runner-up for the best April Fools' gag goes to the Brothers Chaps for their faux hijacked domain over at Homestar Runner. 20X6!

Posted by Jess at 08:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays reports that the stars of The Simpsons -- Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner, and Nancy Cartwright -- have stopped showing up to script readings in a bid to force a settlement in lengthy contract renewal talks with Fox. Each voice actor current earns $125,000 an episode, and they're asking for $360,000. When you take into account that Ray Romano earns nearly $2 million an episode for Everybody (Except Jess) Loves Raymond, that seems fair. Let's see if the Fox executives threaten to recast The Simpsons like they did when contract negotiations stalled in 1998.

In other Simpsons news, I noticed while strolling by the newstand downtown yesterday that Marge Simpson is this month's Maxim cover girl. Now, I love Marge as much as the next guy, but there's just something vaguely disturbing about this lascivious cover image. And to think the United Kingdom recently voted her television's best celebrity mother.

Posted by Jess at 10:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 23, 2004

Showtime, Synergy!

Let's get something straight here: there's only one Jem, and she's truly, truly, truly outrageous. This chick is just a straight-up imposter. Word.

Posted by Jess at 07:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Yo Joe!

When we were kids, my best friend and I always settled for taking apart our action figures and swapping their heads, arms, and legs, but it seems that the potential for creating art using G.I. Joe figures knows no bounds...

Artist uses GI Joe to recreate masters

A Chilean artist has opened an exhibition in which he recreates famous paintings with plastic toys.

Pablo Ferrer uses toys from the GI Joe range -- the US equivalent of Action Man -- to recreate masterpieces by the likes of Rubens.


He says his Liliput to Brobdingnag exhibition, at the Gabriela Mistral Gallery, is intended to be humourous.

Mr Ferrer told Las Ultimas Noticias: "I think that my work has something funny about it because it shows an ironic view on the history of art. Also it makes you think about the phoney side of the paintings."

I don't know art, but I know what I like -- and I like any piece of art that features Dr. Mindbender prominently.

Posted by Jess at 09:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 18, 2004

This can only bode well for the unemployment rate

From The Smoking Gun:

Donald Seeks to Trump "You're Fired" Market

MARCH 18 -- Donald Trump, reality TV star and rapacious New York developer, has filed to trademark the phrase sweeping an underemployed nation. That's right, if The Donald gets the nod from The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, he'll be able to exclusively slap the words "You're Fired" on clothing and "games and playthings," and use it in connection with "casino services."

For what it's worth, my sources suggest that The Donald plans to submit a patent application for the comb-over next week.

Posted by Jess at 08:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2004

Sports Movie #5432

I have a terrific idea for a sports movie. It would star a bunch of misfit players who just don't fit in with the conventions of the sport, no matter how hard they try. For instance, one of the players would be overweight, another would be really smart, another would be a brute with a heart of gold, another would be a mouthy showboater, another would be a guy from some foreign country, and another would be a girl. At the center of the team would be a marginally handsome player who has far more at stake than just the game at hand (e.g. the love of a woman, the respect of his father, et cetera). The rest of the roster would remain unnamed and primarily appear in the background during locker room scenes. Heading up this team of ne'er-do-wells would be a down-on-his-luck coach who's seen better days and has somehow lost his love for the game along the way.

Here's where the movie gets interesting, though: these oddballs would absolutely refuse to conform to the so-called norms and expectations of the sport. In fact, despite initial setbacks, they would insist on playing the game on their own terms, each player bringing his (or her) own unique skills and personality quirks to the table to help make the team a success. The season would eventually culminate with the big championship game, and the marginally handsome lead character would find himself in a position to win it all or come up empty. Somehow, he manages to do the impossible, winning the game and the respect of his father/love of his woman in the process. Meanwhile, the coach rediscovers his love for the game, the brute with a heart of gold hooks up with the girl, and everyone learns the value of being yourself. Freeze frame on the team hoisting the marginally handsome lead onto their shoulders, fade to black, and...the end.

If you liked that idea, I think you'd love the concept I'm developing for a movie about a bunch of eccentric guys who join the Army.

Posted by Jess at 08:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 10, 2004

Care for some Turkish delight?

Nicole Kidman is apparently confirmed for the role of the White Witch in the upcoming movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I guess co-starring in Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock is finally paying off.

Posted by Jess at 04:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2004

Zigazig ah

After Saturday's Barenaked Ladies concert (which was spectacular, by the way) my less-than-impressive official concert tally stands as follows:

  • Barenaked Ladies (1997, 1998, 1999 x 2, 2000, 2004)
  • Bob Dylan (1998, 1999)
  • Bob Dylan/Paul Simon (1999)
  • Weezer (2003)
  • No Doubt/Weezer (1997)
  • Garbage (1999)
  • The Spice Girls (1998)
That's right, I'm one of the lucky few in this (spice)world that has actually attended a Spice Girls concert. It was smack dab in the middle of Spicemania, and one of my friends decided that it would be absolutely hilarious if we got tickets and went to their show in Charlotte, North Carolina. In our defense, the decision was roughly 75 percent ironic, with another 15 and 10 percent chalked up to "guilty pleasure" and "college stupidity," respectively. Anyway, three of my friends (including Robin) and I piled into a car in the summer of 1998 and made the four-hour trip to Charlotte to see the show.

The concert was every bit as bad as you might expect, if not a little more so. The Spice Girls made a valiant effort to dance while singing along with their own prerecorded backing vocals, but ultimately failed on both counts. Also, it's worth noting that Ginger Spice had quit the group just a few weeks before the show, and they hadn't had time to change the video packages before the show. So, throughout the concert, Ginger kept popping up on the Jumbotron, flashing peace signs and mugging for the camera, even though she had just bitterly split from the group. Better still, when the group would get to one of Ginger's lines in their songs, instead of one of the other Spice Girls taking over and singing the vocals, they remained silent and just let the backing vocals that Ginger had recorded before she left cover for them.

While this all probably sounds like it would be good for a laugh, the concert was actually a rather uncomfortable experience on the whole. As my friends and I probably should have guessed ahead of time, there weren't too many other concertgoers of the male, over-the-age-of-14 persuasion at the show. As such, I imagine we must have looked pretty creepy given the crowd. In fact, the entire concert, I felt like mothers who were standing nearby were inching their daughters away from us before we started handing out candy or something. Needless to say, it's not easy to enjoy the postmodern irony of a Spice Girls concert when half a dozen concerned parents are giving you the stinkeye and considering calling over security the entire time.

There was one bonus to having seen the Spice Girls in concert, though. Whenever my friends are discussing the most embarrassing concerts they've ever attended, I almost always win by default -- assuming nobody made it out to see NKOTB live, that is. Plus, the experience taught me an important lesson: irony is great and all, but it's never worth $12 worth of TicketMaster's "convenience" fees.

Posted by Jess at 12:27 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 07, 2004

A Hard Hobbit to Break

The Associated Press confirmed yesterday that Peter Jackson is planning to film The Hobbit -- after a few legal kinks are worked out, of course:

'Hobbitt,' 'Rings' Prequel, in the Works

NEW YORK (AP) - Peter Jackson won't be returning to the Shire any time soon. The Oscar-winning director is planning to film "The Hobbit," the prequel to "The Lord of the Rings," trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, but two studios must first fight over legal rights to the film.

Jackson said New Line Cinema has the rights to make the movie, but MGM has the rights to distribute it.

"I guess MGM's lawyers and New Line's lawyers are going to have a huge amount of fun over the next few years trying to work it all out," he told reporters recently in Los Angeles, according to AP Radio. "I'm obviously busy for a couple of years on 'King Kong' so those lawyers can just go at it for a long time." (more)

Link, oddly enough, via Wil Wheaton.

Posted by Jess at 11:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 06, 2004

Lose yourself in the music

Every review I've read of singer-songwriter Nellie McKay's debut album, Get Away from Me, describes her music as a cross between Doris Day and Eminem. You know, I'm starting to think that it's worth the $12.99 just to hear how that seemingly mismatched musical goulash turns out.


Speaking of music, Kourtney and I are heading out to see the Barenaked Ladies in concert tonight. I'm hoping that they'll be able to offset my growing distaste for their recent studio work (see here and here) with an awesome live show. We'll see...

Posted by Jess at 10:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 04, 2004

Tonight on Access Hollywood...

I'm not particularly proud of the fact, but I'll admit that I've watched MTV's Newlyweds starring Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey on occasion. That being said, there was a great bit in the promo for next week's episode. It seems that the media picks up on a rumor that Jessica is pregnant after she mentions an upset stomach during a press conference, leading interviewers, hair and makeup people, and just about everyone else she encounters to inquire whether or not it's true. Eventually, Jessica starts to get nervous and takes a home pregnancy test -- just to "make sure the rumors aren't true." You know, just in case the wacky morning DJs somehow knew something that she didn't. Classic.

Posted by Jess at 12:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 28, 2004

A Wiccan, a Naturist, and a Voodoo Priestess walk into a bar...

Remember back when reality television pretty much just consisted of sticking a bunch of quasi-attractive people in a house and filming them for a few months? Back then, there were no immunity challenges, no bachelors, no bachelorettes, no littlest grooms, no millionaires, no Amish teenagers gone wild, no makeovers, no obnoxious fiancés, no remodeled rooms, and no shocking twists. Things were so much simpler then.

On March 4, the SciFi channel premiers the latest entry in the increasingly ridiculous reality television genre: Mad Mad House. The premise? According to the show's website, ten ordinary folks move in with five "practitioners of alternative lifestyles" -- a Wiccan, a Naturist, a Modern Primitive, a Voodoo Priestess, and a "real-life" Vampire -- and "live out a Survivor meets The Real World meets The Osbournes lifestyle." Seriously.

Posted by Jess at 07:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 25, 2004


The official web presence for Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl (a movie I've written about before) is up and running, and notable by her virtual absence from the site is Jennifer Lopez. She doesn't have an entry on the cast and crew page and only shows up in a brief mention at the end of the "About the Movie" section ("Jersey Girl also stars Jason Biggs, Jennifer Lopez, Stephen Root, and Mike Starr").

I realize that J-Lo isn't a huge player in the film, but it's interesting nonetheless to observe Miramax's ongoing efforts to disassociate Jersey Girl from Bennifer and, in turn, prevent it from being branded by the public as Gigli 2: Electric Boogaloo. Frankly, I think it's a lost cause at this point. In fact, I can only predict a box-office failure and the further devaluation of Ben Affleck's Hollywood stock as a viable leading man. And I liked him so much in Chasing Amy.

Oh, who am I kidding? He'll probably end up with the lead in Kevin Smith's upcoming film adaptation of the Green Hornet.

Posted by Jess at 10:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 21, 2004

Hail to the king, baby

My wife and I have watched The Fellowship of the Ring together several times since it first came out in 2001. Every time we would get to the part where Frodo is injured by the Ringwraiths and Aragorn says something along the lines of, "This is beyond my skill to heal; he needs elvish medicine," I would lean over and whisper to my wife, "Did he just say Elvis medicine?"

After about the fourth or fifth time we watched Fellowship, my wife finally sighed and asked me why I always insisted on saying that.

My response? "I'm just getting ready for The Return of the King, honey."

Meanwhile, Evil Doug offers up a much funnier variation on essentially the same joke as part of the first chapter of his Lord of the Rings parody. As always, if you aren't reading Evil Doug's blog, shame on you!

Posted by Jess at 08:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2004

Despite all his rage, et cetera, et cetera

As reported by, Billy Corgan recently backed away from his oft-quoted statement that the Smashing Pumpkins broke up after "fighting the good fight against the Britneys of the world" and losing, now claiming that "the truth of the matter is that guitarist James Iha broke up the Smashing Pumpkins." I don't have any insightful commentary to add; I just know that there are at least a few fellow Pumpkins fans who read this blog.

The article also notes that Billy has a solo album, a DVD, and (ugh) a book of poetry on the way in the relatively near future.

Posted by Jess at 07:45 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 17, 2004

Another reason why rap is a bad influence on kids


Polaroid warns buyers not to 'Shake It'

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- OutKast fans like to "shake it like a Polaroid picture," but the instant camera maker is warning consumers that taking the advice of the hip-hop stars could ruin your snapshots.

The image "never touches air, so shaking or waving has no effect," the company said on its site. "In fact, shaking or waving can actually damage the image. Rapid movement during development can cause portions of the film to separate prematurely, or can cause 'blobs' in the picture." (more)

What's next? Will Morton's warn us against the Ying Yang Twins and Lil' Jon's advice to shake it like a salt shaker? Or perhaps Steak 'n Shake will offer us some tips on better ways to bring the boys to the yard.

Posted by Jess at 11:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 16, 2004


Apparently, in this week's episode of Angel, David Boreanaz's character is magically transformed into the blood-suckingest muppet this side of Count von Count. Don't believe me? Here's a publicity still that doesn't quite capture the sheer ridiculousness of the commerical I saw last night, but gets the point across nevertheless:



Posted by Jess at 10:14 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 29, 2004

I guess it's still better than "Everybody Loves Raymond" (barely)

Is a reality television series about Amish teenagers living it up in the big city not exploitative enough for you? How about a show called The Littlest Groom in which "in which a four-foot-five single guy named Glen will attempt to find reality show love by dating a dozen different little women." The twist? At a certain point in the series, Glen will have to decide between dating women his own size or women of average height instead.

I wonder if this sort of thing was popping up at the local coliseums right before the Roman Empire collapsed.

Posted by Jess at 01:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Truth, Justice, and You've Just Totally Been Punk'd!

Extremely sketchy rumor has it that Warner Bros. is considering casting Beyonce Knowles as Lois Lane and Johnny Depp as Lex Luthor in its upcoming Superman movie. Why do I suddenly get this odd vibe that they're going to cast Ashton Kutcher as the Man of Steel -- trucker-cap-wearing Clark Kent and all?

Posted by Jess at 10:24 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 19, 2004

At least they won't have to worry about their parents watching

Just when you thought reality television couldn't get any classier...

New series to follow 'Amish in the City'
January 19, 2003

The UPN television network is preparing a reality series that follows Amish teenagers having their first experiences with modern conveniences and outside society, part of a religious rite of passage that tests their faith... (more at

Meanwhile, I just keep having flashbacks to an international relations seminar I took a couple of years back in which we watched Witness starring Harrison Ford and discussed its relevance to world politics. <shudder>

Posted by Jess at 05:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 14, 2004

This is the true story?

MTV's reality-television pioneer The Real World has never shied away from manufactured drama, but I think the new San Diego season hit an all-time high (low?) with last night's episode. As has been the norm for the past eight or nine seasons, the seven strangers are required to work together at a pre-arranged job in order to remain in the house. This time around, they're crewing a couple of charter sailboats in the San Diego Bay, which admittedly seems to have more in common with actual, you know, work than the other jobs they've held in recent years. Still, it just doesn't get much better than this revelation from last night's episode:

It turns out that one of the members of the San Diego cast is afraid of boats.

That's right--Frankie, the alterna-rock chick who managed to drink herself into unconsciousness in the premiere episode, is deathly afraid of boats. She's boataphobic. Now, this isn't just a fear of being on boats; it's a fear of being in the general vicinity of boats--so much so that she hides her head and cowers whenever she hears one toot its horn while passing in the distance. Just imagine what happens when she comes face-to-face with the things. To make the situation even more implausible, she's only afraid of seeing/hearing/talking about large boats like cruise liners. Absolutely petrified. And their job, as noted above, is crewing a boat that shares a dock (and a bay) with dozens of terrifyingly large boats. What are the odds?

Yet, my ongoing 13-year addiction to The Real World continues.

Posted by Jess at 07:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 05, 2004

The new Google bombing?

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd that the song "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers is currently number ten on the iTunes Top Ten Songs alongside more obvious songs like OutKast's "Hey Ya!" and "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne? Is there a big Benny and Joon revival underway that nobody told me about?

Posted by Jess at 02:10 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 03, 2004


I first read about the recent unpleasantness involving Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin, his one-month-old son, and a crocodile over at Wizbang, but it seems to be popping up everywhere now. On the one hand, the whole incident almost makes sense. After all, if I remember my Crocodile Hunter Lore(TM) correctly, Steve's father was also a croc wrangler and Steve probably grew up around crocodiles from the time he was an infant. In his mind, having his child around a crocodile is probably far safer than having him riding around in a car seat in the back of the Crocmobile (he does have a Crocmobile, right?) and potentially running off the road and crashing (they do have roads in Australia, right?). Throughout his own little Take Your Son to Work Day, I'm sure that Steve felt that he was in complete control of the situation at all times and that the chances of anything going wrong were slim to none.

On the other hand, how stupid can one man be? While many pundits (ha!) have drawn comparisons between the Crocodile Hunter and Michael Jackson on the baby-dangling front, I think true point of similarity is in their more general shared disconnect with reality. Just like Michael Jackson's belief--and I really think he believes it--that people will eventually understand why he shares his bed with children if he just explains it enough times, Steve Irwin obviously had a little trouble processing why, if the crocodile stunt was perfectly safe in his professionally-trained mind, the public would find fault in his actions. It's been awhile since Psychology 101, but I believe this isn't too far removed from what the experts call cognitive dissonance.

Of course, I seem to recall catching an episode of The Crocodile Hunter a few years back where Steve's visibly pregnant wife, Terri, was right alongside Steve in the outback, poking at venomous snakes with sticks. Given that context, I can't say that this most recent bit of news, disturbing as it may be, is a complete shock.

Posted by Jess at 09:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 02, 2004

Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl

Apart from starring a group of middle-aged women instead of men, remind me again of how the film Calendar Girls isn't exactly like The Full Monty. Oh, wait--it is.

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January 01, 2004

Hey! Mr. Tambourine...Man! Playyoursong...FOR ME!

What better way to start off 2004? William Shatner is set to release a new album (link via kottke).

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December 30, 2003

If you're a fellow Simpsons fan..., don't walk, to the nearest purveyor of fine PC and console games and pick up a copy of The Simpsons: Hit & Run today. Why must you own this game? Let me put it this way: earlier today, I was helping Homer (who, I should add, was driving Barney's "Plow King" truck and wearing the stylish muumuu and cap ensemble from the episode where he attempted to put on weight to get classified as disabled and work from home) race to work at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, knocking over mailboxes, ramming other cars, "nudging" such familar pedestrians as Milhouse and Hans Moleman, and hearing Homer shout "I have no insurance!" over his shoulder all the while. Then, just when it looked like I wasn't going to make it, I took a shortcut through the Stonecutters' secret traffic tunnel and made my way on foot to Section 7-G just in time. And that's just one short mission. What fan of The Simpsons could resist?

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December 19, 2003

There and Back Again

Oh, I almost forgot to mention one of the best parts of my theater-going experience today. During the tense scene where Shelob is silently stalking Frodo, a guy in the audience stage-whispered to the screen, "Frodo, there's a giant spider sneaking up behind you!" Normally, I'm not a fan of audience participation, but that one actually got a chuckle out of me for some reason.

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December 18, 2003

Fool of a Took!

I caught a showing of The Return of the King this afternoon, and I was completely blown away. Even though the film managed to exceed my ridiculously high expectations, it was still a bittersweet experience to watch the series wrap up. The whole time, I couldn't help but feel a little depressed knowing that it could feasibly be decades before I see anything else on the silver screen that rivals both the epic scope and nuanced storytelling of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I want The Return of the King to win the Oscar for Best Picture. I want the Academy to name Ian McKellan Best Actor and Sean Astin Best Supporting Actor. Heck, give Peter Jackson the Oscar for Best Director while we're at it. I want the Academy to figure out some way to honor Andy Serkis and the special effects wizards at Weta for bringing Gollum to life and making him one of the most compelling characters I've seen on film in years. I want to hear Theoden's rallying speech to the troops at Minas Tirith again. I want another chance to watch Gandalf share his insights on the adventure beyond death with Pippin just when it looks like all hope is lost. I want to go back and re-read the trilogy for the first time since my sophomore year of college.

Most of all, though, I want a copy of the Extended Edition DVD the moment it's released next year. Oh, and I wouldn't mind seeing Peter Jackson secure the rights to The Hobbit either.

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December 14, 2003

Blizzard of Oz

If you weren't already convinced that Ozzy Osbourne is a ridiculously overexposed sell-out, I submit the Osbourne Family Christmas Special that's currently running ad nauseum on MTV (check your local listings). The lame sketches, Kelly's shrill rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and the neverending parade of B-list celebrity cameos speak for themselves, but the special just goes from bad to worse when Ozzy is asked to record a duet of "Winter Wonderland" with the similarly overexposed Jessica Simpson.

After his producer explains the whole concept to him, Ozzy goes on an obviously staged--if not outright scripted--tirade and pulls his "I'm the Prince of F---ing Darkness" catchphrase out of the mothballs, stopping just short of winking at the camera each time he reassures us that he's Satan incarnate. He then proceeds to record the song anyway--with the voice filter in the studio turned all the way up to "Britney Spears." And there's another season of this increasingly self-aware nonsense on tap? You've gotta be kidding me.

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December 10, 2003

Pop culture souffle

I have to admit that there was something infectious about Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie's gleeful insubordination while working at the local Sonic drive-through on last night's episode of The Simple Life.

Meanwhile, this Dark Horizons report suggests that Star Trek: Enterprise is quite possibly calling it quits next season due to low ratings. You know, there's still time to implement some of my suggestions to save the series.

Finally, there's a hilarious (albeit R-rated) review of The Return of the King Hobbit-Man: The King Returns by Neill Cumpston up at Ain't It Cool News. A brief excerpt: "This movie starts with the origin of Golem--that creepy guy who looks like Iggy Pop and wears Tarzan pants and wants the invisible-ring. He's still on a quest with the two hobbits--Rudy from the film RUDY and Fredo--to throw the ring into a volcano (this is like a serious version of JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO)." Good times.

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November 11, 2003

Indiana Jones's Diary

With apologies to Helen Fielding, Steven Spielburg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Renée Zellweger, and my readers...

Tuesday 2 February
176 lbs., alcohol units 3 (excellent), Nazis killed 7 (good), calories 1600 (v.g.).

Artifacts recovered year-to-date:
Noah's Ark
Dagger of Amon Ra
Hippolyta's Girdle
Philosopher's Stone
Spear of Destiny

Bad day at work. Just returned from Lost City of Korma yesterday with Spear of Destiny. Barely had chance to unpack before Marcus started bothering me about overdue final grades from last semester. Says students starting to get upset. Tried to explain that Nazis would use Spear to conquer Europe if not recovered. Marcus made snide comment about tenure review coming up. Didn't hear him complaining when he was mentioned in Life cover story on recovery of Noah's Ark.

Sunday 7 February
184 lbs. (shouldn't have gone back for seconds on chilled monkey brains), alcohol units 10 (v.g. considering party), Nazis killed 1 (excellent), calories ???

Currently in Peking with Dad looking for Helmet of Ying Zheng. Good: local cuisine delicious, not many Nazis around (almost positive bellhop I shot was Nazi, though). Bad: Dad keeps lecturing me about everything. "The dahg'sh name wahsh Indiana." Whatever, Dad.

Attacked by (Nazi?) swordsman in bazaar this morning. Shot him in chest after he finished waving around sword. Ha! That never gets old. Glad nobody has ever thought to do that to me when I'm waving around whip.

Friday 12 February
180 lbs., alcohol units 2 (excellent), Nazis killed 14 (stumbled onto Hitler Youth rally, couldn't help myself), calories 1200 (v.g.).

Finally back in U.S. Didn't find helmet. Marcus isn't going to be happy. Received letter from Willie today saying she plans to be in town on Valentine's Day, wants to know if we can get together for dinner. I've had my heart ripped out before (literally!), don't know if I want to go down that road again. What to do?

Tuesday 16 Feburary
178lbs. (almost back to fighting weight!), alcohol units 3, Nazis killed 3 (v.g.), calories 1800.

Went to dinner with Willie Sunday night. Bad idea! Willie not nearly as tolerable without Short Round there for comic relief. Wonder what Short Round is doing these days. Should probably write him.

P.S. Recovered Relic of True Cross on Monday. Marcus happy again. I'll never figure that man out.

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November 10, 2003

Matrix Revolutions: An Eyelid-Flipping Good Time


If we're to believe this cartoon from the campus newspaper, The Matrix Revolutions is so good/bad/long/confusing/whatever that it will in fact TURN YOUR EYELIDS UPSIDE DOWN!

Spoiler-free thoughts on the final film in the Matrix trilogy follow.

I caught a showing of Revolutions last week, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised considering the critical shellacking the film has received--after I got over the fact that my personal theories about the series proved completely wrong, that is. In fact, the ending the Wachowskis crafted to their series was significantly more subtle than I ever expected. On the whole, I felt that Revolutions was a notable improvement over Reloaded--tighter, more focused, and better paced. For instance, unlike the utterly dispensable playground brawl between Smith and Neo in Reloaded, the action sequences in Revolutions actually felt like they meant something to the overall narrative. Plus, speaking of Agent Smith, it was great to see Hugo Weaving chewing even more scenery in the role, bringing his character's absolute loathing of humanity back to the forefront throughout the film.

Nevertheless, Revolutions is not without its own failings. Once again, the dialogue is atrocious at times--especially in scenes prominently featuring Trinity and Neo. Moreover, whereas Morpheus seems like little more than an afterthought in terms of the story's ultimate resolution, the film perhaps dwells a bit too much on such relatively minor characters as the Kid, the Merovingian, and Private Vasquez from Aliens.

That being said, Revolutions remains an enjoyable enough movie. The original Matrix still remains my favorite in the series, but Reloaded and Revolutions don't go so far as to make me wish the Wachowskis had stopped after the first go-around. In the world of big-budget blockbusters, I guess that's all you can ask.

Meanwhile, Jay Pinkerton and David Wong offer a thoroughly hilarious round-up of the various fan theories on how the series would conclude after Reloaded entitled The Matrix Resolutions. Or, if you're really feeling daring, you can check out Galvatron's Matrix theories.

Posted by Jess at 02:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2003

Must-Be TV: The Masked Fisherman

masked.gifI've been kicking around this idea for the past few years, and with both reality television and extreme sports soaring to new heights of popularity by the day, it seems like the right time to unleash my idea for an extreme fishing show--The Masked Fisherman--on the world.

Here's the setup. Our host, the enigmatic Masked Fisherman, is an anonymous angler/munitions expert. His identity guarded by his trademark black ski mask, the Masked Fisherman travels to a new lake at an undisclosed location each week with his faithful camera crew. Once there, he sets out onto the lake in his souped-up pontoon boat, searching for the perfect fishing spot using all the latest high-tech fish-finding technology. Then, after he's searched out the ideal location, the fun begins--unless you're a fish, that is.

Here's where the show diverges from most televised fishing shows. Unlike conventional fishermen, the Masked Fisherman doesn't trade in rods, reels, lures, bait, and all that non-extreme rubbish. Instead, he fishes the way that God intended: using small-scale explosives. Drawing upon the impressive munitions arsenal housed in his tacklebox, the Masked Fisherman will rely on his trusty hand grenades. When he pulls out the pin on the first grenade, the show's signature tune--Blur's Song 2 (also known as "the woo-hoo song")--will begin blaring. The Masked Fisherman will then throw the hand grenade into the water, followed by several more, the explosions causing dead fish to float to the surface by the dozen. Once his work is done and the song has ended, the Masked Fisherman will simply use a fishing net to collect his catch. The end result? In less than five minutes, the Masked Fisherman will have caught more fish than most televised fishermen do in a career.

If Jesus was the Fisher of Men, then the Masked Fisherman is THE MAN of fishers.

That's far from the entire show, however. Naturally, the conservative local game wardens aren't going to appreciate the Masked Fisherman's extreme stylings. Therefore, the show will end each week with a Dukes of Hazzard-esque car chase in which the Masked Fisherman attempts to elude the local authorities. Circumstances permitting, this chase will of course include the Masked Fisherman jumping his vehicle (the Masked Fishervan) over numerous bales of hay and broken-down bridges. Once he's escaped with his catch in tow, it's back to his top-secret headquarters to scout out a location for the following week's episode.

Of course, the show will be shot in grainy black-and-white with frenetic MTV-style editing to make it look more X-TREME--er, extreme. Now, if I can just figure out a way to incorporate some bikini-clad models into the show format, I think The Masked Fisherman is ready for SpikeTV. Or at least ESPN2.

Posted by Jess at 09:30 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 22, 2003

Review: BNL's Everything to Everyone

everything to everyoneJust as I predicted a few weeks ago, I was at Circuit City bright and early Tuesday morning to purchase a copy of the new Barenaked Ladies album, Everything to Everyone. Now that I've had a chance to listen to E2E a few times, I can say that it's certainly better than I initially expected given my unmitigated disappointment with the asinine first single, "Another Postcard." Still, the album as a whole--much like Stunt and Maroon before it--strikes me as the handiwork of a band more interested in being clever than actually saying anything. For instance, in the self-referential chorus of "Testing 1, 2, 3," vocalist/guitarist Ed Robertson asks, "If I shed the irony, would everybody cheer me?" I don't know about everybody, but it couldn't hurt to give it a try.

The problem with releasing an album that features a song about the torment of receiving anonymous postcards graced by photographs of chimpanzees ("Another Postcard") and another with a chorus that includes the lines "It's always lalalalala/Shopping with our friends" ("Shopping") is that when you eventually get around to the plaintive song about suicide ("War on Drugs"), the listener is too busy waiting for the next ironic twist or zany pun to actually appreciate it. While songs like "Aluminum" and "Next Time" make the most of the traditional BNL formula of two parts introspection and one part wry commentary, E2E is at its best when it's at its least expected. For instance, the country/bluegrass-tinged "For You" and "Have You Seen My Love?" are among the highlights of the album, as is the bombastic accordian-driven tango of "Upside Down." Still, E2E remains an uneven effort. The highs are high, the lows are low, and most of the material in between is forgettable at best.

Maybe the Barenaked Ladies haven't lost a step; maybe I've just outgrown their particular brand of wacky Canadian pop. I will say this much, though: there's no such thing as a part-time novelty act. I was under the impression that BNL spent much of the '90s trying to shake that derisive label after they gained early notoriety through songs like "Be My Yoko Ono" and "Grade 9." Now, despite the fact that Everything to Everyone wasn't quite the disaster I expected, I'm still not sure what the Barenaked Ladies are trying to say--what image they're trying to project--with their music these days. Do they want us to take them seriously as musical artists or chuckle along with their hyper-ironic observations on life and love? Sure, nobody ever got ahead by attempting to be everything to everyone, but I can't help but wonder after hearing this album if BNL is anything to anyone at this point in their career other than a series of forced jokes wrapped up in quality musicianship and held-over goodwill from their devoted fanbase.

Grade: C+

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October 20, 2003

Such intolerance!

Maybe society will eventually realize that certain people are born media whores; it's just not as simple as a "choice of lifestyle." Until then, we'll have to put up with this kind of intolerance and discrimination:

Atlanta just says no to ‘The Kiss’

Oct. 20 -- Sometimes, a kiss is not just a kiss, and there was one pucker that some Atlanta area residents didn’t want to see: the infamous one between Britney Spears and Madonna.

An Atlanta radio station erected a billboard featuring the Sapphic smooch--and took it down in less than a week because people bombarded the station, 96-Rock, with complaints. Of course, the text on the billboard may have been part of the problem: "Their music stinks," read the sign, "but we'd do 'em."


Me, I feel sorry for poor Christina Aguilera. It's like nobody even remembers that she kissed Madonna, too.

Thanks to KK for alerting me to this interesting bit of local news.

Posted by Jess at 09:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 18, 2003

On the names of things: Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl

The first official promotional image for Kevin Smith's upcoming Jersey Girl hit the Web yesterday, and I have to say that it sets me a bit ill-at-ease. When Kevin first started talking up Jersey Girl a year or so back, he hyped it not as a wacky follow-up to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but rather as a return to the somewhat more serious filmmaking of Chasing Amy--by far my favorite of his films. This promotional image, however, gives me a bad vibe. I'm not sure if it's the girl's missing teeth or the highlights in Ben Affleck's hair, but something about the image screams "feel-good movie of the late winter/early spring" to me. That being said, I don't know if I want to see the writer/director who brought me a film featuring a poop monster tell a story about a young girl, wise beyond her years, who teaches her father how to love again.

It isn't just the "aww, how cute!" factor that makes me a bit apprehensive about Jersey Girl, though. As noted above, Kevin has touted the film as more serious in tone than light-hearted farces like Jay and Silent Bob and Mallrats. If he wants audiences to take his work seriously, however, why does he insist on giving his character completely ridiculous names? Let's run through the leads in Jersey Girl, shall we? Ben Affleck stars as publicist Ollie Trinke, presumably borrowing his first name from Kevin's beloved Green Arrow. Meanwhile, J.Lo plays his love interest, Gertrude Steiney. I guess her parents were big fans of "the lost generation" of twentieth-century American expatriates or something. The titular Jersey Girl? She's named Gertie, after her her mom and Drew Barrymore in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Now, I realize that Kevin has a history of borrowing his characters' names from both other films (Mallrats' Brody Bruce and T.S. Quint adapted from Jaws), as well as literary works (Chasing Amy's Holden McNeill and Banky Edwards lifted from The Catcher in the Rye), but these names are just absurd! How can we take this film seriously, when most of the main characters are sporting the geek equivalent of pornstar names? Not only are the odds pretty darn slim that someone would be named either Ollie Trinke or Gertrude Steiney in the first place, but it's downright preposterous to think that two people with such unlikely names would actually know each another, fall in love, and produce an effervescent little offspring. And, assuming they did, do you really think they would name her after her mother?

Posted by Jess at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 13, 2003

Kill Bill: Plenty of sizzle, not so much steak?

Note: I'm relatively sure that the following comments are about as spoiler-free as possible.

I caught a showing of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 over the weekend, and I have to say that I left the theater a bit underwhelmed. Admittedly, I went into the film with rather high expectations, and I certainly can't find much fault in Tarantino's directorial skills. There are no two ways about it: Kill Bill is a beautiful film. Tarantino clearly has an artistic flair for making incredibly complex shots work for him, and as far as I'm concerned, modern cinema doesn't get much more gorgeous than the snowy showdown between Uma Thurman's "The Bride" and Lucy Liu's O-Ren Ishi.

That being said, the much-ballyhooed spraying, spurting, and splattering of blood that nearly earned the film an NC-17 rating didn't work for me at all. It's not so much that the pervasive violence bothered me per se, but rather that the outlandish lack of realism in the bloodshed itself just pulled me out of the experience and made it even more difficult to suspend my disbelief as I watched a single woman defeat literally dozens of adversaries in hand-to-hand combat. Still, I suppose that's more of a stylistic complaint than a substantive critique.

What really disappointed me about Kill Bill was how empty--perhaps even vacuous--the film seemed between action sequences. In particular, Tarantino's trademark dialogue is virtually absent throughout Vol. 1 (although I hear this problem is remedied in the second installment). Instead, viewers are left with the barest of plots to give "The Bride" an excuse to run around killing people with samurai swords. Speaking of "The Bride," we're given a handful of interesting characters in Vol. 1, but relatively little reason to care about--much less relate to--any of them.

When it's all said and done, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is a movie about revenge and just revenge--not whether revenge is right or wrong, and not about the effect it has on the person seeking it. Maybe the next installment will touch on such themes and help add a bit of substance to the unquestionably stylish presentation of Vol. 1. Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed Kill Bill. I'm just reserving judgment on whether the film is the instant classic that some critics have hailed it to be until I've seen the second installment. For the time being, however, Kill Bill strikes me as a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. I guess we'll know next February whether or not it was, in fact, told by an idiot.

Posted by Jess at 12:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 19, 2003

Springtime for Castro

Castro musical in the works?
Costner linked to rumored film project

I guess Hollywood is finally paying attention to what Joe Moviegoer actually wants to see. Maybe I spoke too soon when I said that Kevin Costner should stick to Westerns and movies about baseball. Then again, I guess there's plenty of room for baseball in a Castro musical.

On the other hand, when Ain't It Cool News--proud disseminator of misinformation that it usually is--actually questions the veracity of such a rumor, I guess it's wise to take it with a grain of salt.

Posted by Jess at 04:31 PM | Comments (3)

September 18, 2003

How to fix Enterprise

I've been a fan of Enterprise ever since it debuted a couple of years back, but it looks like the series has a tough road ahead. Low ratings led the producers to overhaul the series this season, giving the ship a dangerous new mission into an uncharted region of space, adding a platoon of space marines to the crew, upping the sexual tension, and giving the characters--most notably Captain Jonathan Archer and Chief Engineer Trip Tucker--a somewhat harder edge to their personalities. It's now two episodes into the new season, however, and things still just aren't quite clicking. Then, while watching last night's episode, it hit me. I know how to fix Enterprise. Captain Archer needs a catchphrase.

Just imagine an alien vessel bearing down on the Enterprise, phaser cannons firing away. Archer orders evasive maneuvers, bringing the ship around to return fire on the enemy. Now, just before he orders a full spread of photon torpedoes, he turns to the camera with a look of determination on his face and says, "When you mess with an Archer, you get the arrow. Fire, Mr. Reed!"

Boom. Instant ratings.

Posted by Jess at 07:52 AM | Comments (5)

September 15, 2003

The world is a vampire, sent to drain

Zwan Call it Quits
Corgan announces dissolution of second band in three years

Oh, well--it was fun while it lasted. I guess this means that I'll just have to step up efforts in my ongoing search for new music.

Posted by Jess at 05:52 PM | Comments (2)

September 11, 2003

More silly pop culture stuff

The full theatrical trailer for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill has finally hit the Web, and I'd say that it improves on the earlier teaser in just about every way imaginable. Jackie Brown didn't quite "click" with me, but this one seems to be shaping up rather nicely.

Meanwhile, various sources confirm that Christian Bale is the new Batman. I'm not familiar with his work, but I'm looking forward to the prospect of what sounds like a "Year One" approach to the Batman mythos featuring a villain that hasn't been done to death already.

Posted by Jess at 05:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Throw me the idol, I throw you the whip

B-Movie Feel For Indy IV
Adventure sequel opts for retro look

Well, that's at least one fear I had about Indiana Jones 4 put to rest. Please, O Great and Powerful Gods of Responsible Film-Making, don't let this project head down the same road as the recent revival of that other Lucasfilm property.

Posted by Jess at 07:26 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2003

Does this mean that I have to stop making fun of Jewel?

Corgan Gets Poetic
Zwan frontman shopping collection of verse

Posted by Jess at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2003

High and dry

Last night's post about the new BNL single got me thinking about how dissatisfied I am with my music collection these days. I'm at that all-too-familiar point where I'm bored with most of the CDs I already have, but there's just not any music out there that I'm particularly interested in checking out. If memory serves, I've only purchased two albums this year: Zwan's Mary Star of the Sea and the White Stripes' Elephant. Maybe it's time to finally give in to the hype and give Coldplay a try. After all, I really liked Radiohead back when they still made music, and Coldplay seems to be picking up where they left off.

Posted by Jess at 06:36 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 08, 2003

Maybe someone else should drive

I just heard the Barenaked Ladies' new single, "Another Postcard." Much to my continuing dismay, it appears that BNL isn't particularly intent on shaking their growing reputation as a novelty act. Here's an excerpt from the lyrics:

Some chimps in swimsuits, some chimps are swinging from a vine
Some chimps in jackboots, some chimps that wish they could be mine.
Starsky and Hutch chimps, a chimp who's sitting on the can
A pair of Dutch chimps who send their love from Amsterdam.
Another postcard with chimpanzees
And every one is addressed to me.

Now, imagine that first bit being rapped in a style not entirely dissimilar to Snow of mid-1990s "Informer" fame.


I love BNL; I really do. It's getting to the point, though, that I'm almost ashamed to admit it. I'll still go on record saying that BNL is far and away one of the best acts that I've ever had the pleasure of seeing live. With the exception of a small handful of songs, however, I can't say that I've particularly enjoyed their two most recent studio releases. I realize, of course, that I'm in a minority in that regard. After all, Stunt and Maroon catapulted BNL into the mainstream for the first time (at least in the United States) and won the band legions of new fans. I just wish that they'd make a return to the more mature songwriting of Maybe You Should Drive and Born on a Pirate Ship. Sure, BNL is a decent enough band when it comes to "geek rock" or "frat rock" or whatever they're calling it this week, but I'm positive that the band is capable of being much more than that--without sacrificing their mainstream success in the process.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'll be at Best Buy to pick up Everything to Everyone when it hits stores on October 21, hoping that the first single isn't reflective of the album as a whole. I don't have particularly high hopes, though. Chimps in jackboots? Sigh.

Posted by Jess at 10:00 PM | Comments (7)

September 07, 2003

Metahumor and the twenty-fourth-and-a-half century

Spike TV's Joe Schmo is so cruel. And hilarious. In related news, I want a pimped-out Lord of the Manor Immunity Robe.

Meanwhile, the new Duck Dodgers series on the Cartoon Network is much better--and, dare I say, edgier--than I ever would have expected. Then again, I've always enjoyed my sci-fi with a dash of comedy.

Posted by Jess at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2003

$240 worth of pudding

This is quite possibly the greatest and best site in the world. I recommend starting with clips like "The Barry Lutz Show" and "Eating Muppets" and then systematically working your way through the remaining segments. While I miss The State on MTV, Comedy Central's hilarious Reno 911! is definitely helping to ease the pain.

Posted by Jess at 07:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 01, 2003

Strap on your six-guns

I caught a showing of Open Range yesterday afternoon, and I have to say that it was a great old-fashioned Western--due in no small part to a topnotch performance from Robert Duvall. I think Rotten Tomatoes put it best when they described the film as "a simple tale, well told." Say what you want about Kevin Costner, but he can still get the job done--as long as it's a Western or a baseball movie.

Posted by Jess at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 28, 2003

Consistently putting my thang down, flipping it, and reversing it

Madonna briefly made out with both Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears during the opening performance of MTV's Video Music Awards. How unpredictable--in that completely predictable MTV kind of way. Oh, and Missy Elliot was there.

Posted by Jess at 08:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 27, 2003

You hear it first

MTV's news correspondents apparently maintain blogs nowadays. Who knew? Still, I can't help but think that someone is editing their posts before they see virtual print. I refuse to believe that a nincompoop like Iann Robinson is capable of writing in complete sentences.

Posted by Jess at 05:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2003

Aquaman, Aquaman/Does whatever an oyster can...

Whenever my wife and I are discussing DC Comics superhero Aquaman (which happens more often than you might expect), she always refers to him without placing any emphasis on the "man" syllable in his name. So, instead of Aquaman, noble King of Atlantis, you're left with just plain aquaman--like it's an occupation no different than a policeman or fireman, or a last name like Gilman (heh) or Schwartzman.

"Frank Aquaman, could you please come to the white courtesy phone? Frank Aquaman to the white courtesy phone."

Personally, I find it rather appropriate considering Aquaman is universally recognized as the lamest superhero ever. Speaking of which, this seems like an excellent opportunity to link to Seanbaby's hilarious Super Friends page. Be forewarned, however, that the site contains a fair amount of rough language and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Meanwhile, the two-disc release of The Two Towers is out on DVD today. I won't make the same mistake I made with Fellowship, though. I'm waiting for the Extended Edition--no matter how badly I'd like to see it again right now.

Posted by Jess at 10:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 25, 2003

Teen Titans GO!

Earlier today, I stumbled across Teen Titans Battle Blitz (a 2D fighter in the style of such classics as Street Fighter 2), and it's not too bad of a time-waster for a Shockwave game. Surprisingly, TTBB features five playable characters--each with a small suite of special moves. As I said, not too shabby for a Shockwave doo-dad.

I'm torn when it comes to Cartoon Network's Teen Titans cartoon, though. Although I'm not a fan of anime by any stretch of the imagination, I have to admit that the character designs for the team are rather sharp. Plus, the "Secret Agent Man" style theme song by Puffy AmiYumi and retro opening sequence absolutely rule. However, the episodes themselves are clearly pitched at a much younger audience than other recent DC cartoons, and I can't say that I've particularly enjoyed what I've seen.

MTV's CG Spider-Man series, on the other hand? Purely brilliant.

Posted by Jess at 04:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 11, 2003

Bite my shiny metal... NOOOOOOOOO!

The series finale of Futurama finally aired on Fox last night. The episode, "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings," was both hilarious and surprisingly touching. Also, if I'm not mistaken, the second season is out tomorrow on DVD here in the States. Must... resist... temptation...

Speaking of television, my rather shameful addiction to reality shows like TLC's Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear has recently gotten worse thanks to Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Strangely compelling.

Posted by Jess at 09:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 09, 2003

Zombies. Why'd it have to be zombies?

So, my wife and I are currently playing System Shock 2, an all-around incredible first-person shooter/horror/action CRPG that was released by Looking Glass Studios a couple of years ago. To make a long story short, the protagonist in the game is a space guy trapped on a run-amok starship trillions of miles from Earth. To make matters worse, you're stuck on the ship with about a zillion zombies (and a herd of psionic monkeys, but that's a different story).

When the first Quake game came out six or seven years ago, I wrote the following: "Hands down, there are no scarier sounds known to man than the groan of a Quake zombie or the splat of a hurled decaying body part making contact with its target." As it turns out, I was wrong.

In System Shock 2, the zombies not only groan in the typical spooky zombie fashion, but they also pass the time by begging you to kill them and apologizing profusely while beating you to death with a lead pipe and/or wrench. Double creepy. Worse still, a System Shock zombie is about ten times as fast as a Quake zombie--not 28 Days Later fast, mind you, but fast all the same. They also wield shotguns on occasion.

I hate zombies.

Posted by Jess at 02:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack