Christmas is here again and brings with it a slew of holiday traditions: eggnog, mistletoe, and alchohol drenched fornication with big boned women.

That's right, I'm talking about Bad Santa.

It's true that Billy Bob Thornton looks like a drunken wreck of a man who lies, cheats, steals and beats up little boys, but that's only part of his charm. Deep down he really is a drunken liar, cheater, and beater upper of small children, but it's funny as hell and a trip to watch. Billy Bob was born to play this role and the way his character "grows" up adroitly avoids the sentimental cop-outs that so many flicks employ and manages to stay slick and disgustingly funny all the way to the nut-busting end.

Bad Santa is a new christmas tradition that's so bad it's good.
Full on John material (4 out of 4 stars.)



Our newest winnah of Name That Movie! is Sadie of Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady.

Sadie displayed her cinema acumen by successfully identifying the 90s flick, Hackers, from this picture.

Hackers didn't make a huge splash at the box office, but it's sprited brand of "cyber" fun was hard to ignore. It also didn't hurt that a little known actress named Angelina Jolie starred. Apparently Angie and her co-star, Johnny Lee Miller, were married soon after Hackers concluded filming, only to divorce four years later. As we all know now, it was all downhill for Johnny boy, while Miss Big Lips was destined for greater things (ie: Brad Pitt).

Congratulations once again to Sadie!

The Spoon
would also like to wish everyone a
Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!
May you receive many presents and good times.


Name That Movie!

Your favorite contest is back!

The Rules: I'll present a picture from a completely random (read: carefully selected) movie and it's your job, nay, your duty, to name that movie in the comment section.

-You may guess as many times as you want.
-Wrong answers are not penalized, but may be mocked.
-The previous winner is not eligible to win the next entry (this means you SQT)

The Prize: Bragging rights and your name and blog emblazoned here in bright pink letters. Don't act like you're not panting for this sweet, sweet prize.

The picture:The hint: Computers are cool.


Eragon is destined to make you regret spending 8 bucks to go see it

I immediately had my doubts when I learned that fantasy blockbuster Eragon was based on a book written by a home-schooled individual.

I’m not a cruel person, but I tend to look down upon home schooled peoples or “homies,” if you will. They often have pigment deficiencies, thereby making their skin a reflective surface that is too bright to look at directly, and their lack of real-world experience frequently leads to small talk about model airplanes and the relative merits of soy-based products. These side effects of home schooling - albinism and a nunnish lifestyle – are also the main culprits for Eragon’s trite and tired presentation.

Talking about soy products is just one activity more interesting than watching Eragon

Eragon is based on the popular and same-titled book by author Christopher Paolini. Apparently, “Chris” wrote Eragon at the jailbait age of 17 right after finishing his home school “education,” as he and his parents felt he wasn’t quite old enough to go to college. After watching Eragon, I’d have to add that he probably wasn’t old enough to write his own book either.

To be honest, I haven’t read Eragon and I have no doubt that it’s more complex and imaginative than its cinematic counterpart; it’s simply not possible for the book to be more banal than this flick. Eragon plays like an ugly, bastardized conglomeration of Star Wars, Tolkien, and Anne McCaffrey and while those are all excellent sources of inspiration, the end result is less than inspired.

Let’s see a synopsis: A young orphan boy (Star Wars) is destined to be a dragon rider (McCaffrey), and defeat the evil king (every fantasy story ever told). Instead of filling in the blanks with unique characters and compelling scenarios, Eragon chooses to take absolutely no story telling risks and becomes a fantasy adventure movie with no sense of adventure.

To give you a nip of Eragon’s bland offering, I offer a paraphrased explanation for why the young hero (Edward Speleers, whose accent is his best feature) has been chosen to be a dragon rider and deliver the smack down on the evil king (John Malkovich in a role too brief to be awful).
“Eragon, it’s your destiny to be a dragon rider and save the kingdom!”
“But why was I, a simpleton farmer, chosen to save the kingdom?”
“Because it is your duty as a dragon rider. Obviously.”
“But why was I picked to be a dragon rider? I don’t even like animals.”
“Because it’s your destiny, idiot.”
The atrocious dialogue and paper thin characters might’ve been more palatable with some excellent special effects, but for the most part, the SFX are as bland as the plot. With the lone exception of the dragon’s hatching scene, much of the visuals are eerily similar to Dragonheart, which came out nearly ten years ago. And in many cases, travel scenes look like left over stock footage from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The soundtrack is no better with its loud, brassy, and overly simplistic score.

Now Dragonheart was cool. You can't beat Sean Connery as a reptilian con-artist.

Eragon is clearly the result of an impassioned writer retelling his favorite stories. Unfortunately, without a deeper understanding of what made those stories classics, not to mention the social skills of a five-year old, Chris Paolini could never have given Eragon the wings to get off the ground. In other words, this “homie” was destined for failure.

Eragon doesn’t take any risks and I’d advise you to do the same: don’t see this movie. It might be good enough to fool the kiddies, but adults won’t have that satisfaction. Eragon is just barely out of Ringo territory (1 star out of 4).


Leeeeroooooy Jenkins!

I've always hesitated to admit that I play WoW (World of Warcaft) for fear of being labeled as "nerdish" or a "gaming stallion." However, I figure I waved bye-bye to my last shred of respect a while ago so my image can't be damaged any more by admitting my love for this WoW video clip.

WoW is a MMORPG (that's nerdspeak), which basically means that it's a computer game with thousands of little figures running around hitting things and flirting with each other, and for each little figure there is one pasty human being hunched over a computer screen noisily slurping a soda and resisting the urge to urinate for as long as possible.

In the following video, a group of said pasty people are coordinating a group attack. Listen to their intricate planning and revel in their dedication and ingenuity. Then observe how the very brave and very stupid Leroy Jenkins takes control.


The Blob ate my post
Please give a gentle pat on the rump to our newest Name That Movie! Winner:
SQT from The Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin' Blog!

Quick-witted and fast with a mouse, SQT came up with The Blob as the correct answer to the previous contest (scroll down for the contest pic). A 1958 sci-fi "classic" with the tag line, "Indescribable... Indestructible! Nothing Can Stop It!" The Blob also holds the distinction of being the last film in which Steve McQueen was billed as "Steven McQueen." Given a choice between taking $2,500 or 10% of the movie's profits, "Steven" took the cash and eventually lost out on a larger paycheck when the film grossed over 4 million dollars (Check out the IMDB trivia page for more nuggets of useless wisdom).

Name That Movie! Addendum

Like a finely-tuned Pinto, the Name That Movie! contest is currently undergoing some maintenance work. For example, one new rule will prevent contest winners from winning two times in a row. As the wise and degenerate Billy Bob said in Bad Santa, "They can't all be winners," but we'll sure as heck give everyone a fair shot here at The Spoon.

An unfortunate non-winner in the previous contest, Squish asks,"When does this contest go up?" Well Squish, I'd say these contests will go up about as irregularly as my bowel movements. But I also believe that the random nature of the entries will level the playing field for all four interested parties that weren't scared off by my bowel reference.


And the Winner is...

In my previous post I began a movie-naming contest. And the first winner, Ian, chastised me for using such an awful movie as Battlefield Earth for my first contest entry and I'm inclined to agree; watching it should be reserved for farm animal rapists and NFL referees. But in my defense, my hint did describe Battlefield Earth as a bad, bad movie.

And since Ian spoiled everyone else's fun by winning the contest in a matter of hours, I'm going to immediately put up a second addition of...

Name That Movie!

The rules are the same as before: Be the first person to correctly identify the movie depicted below and post the movie title in the comment section. Respect and free advertisement for your blog will be awarded to the winner and I may even start a winner's circle for continued adulation.

The picture:

The Hint: B Movie all the way

Name that Movie!

You may be wondering about the new smell here at The Spoon. No, it's not a lingering fart - it's the fresh stink of a brand new contest!

I'll put up a picture of a movie. It's your job to guess the movie's title and be the first person to correctly post it in the comments section.

The winner will receive my undying admiration and absolutely no money whatsover. However, I will advertise your personal website for all my regular readers to see (ie: my stalkers [editors note: Matt still loves you guys]).

And now the picture:

And now the hint: This is a bad, bad movie.


Happy Feet makes beautiful music with songs you’ve already heard before

As I get older, I’m starting to grow more hair around the nipple region and my eyesight is degrading to the point where 10:15 looks an awful lot like 8:30. In other words, I missed my showing of Happy Feet on Sunday so this review comes a little later than it should’ve. Now that I have your sympathy and successfully directed your thoughts towards my nipple area (or nipular fun zone as I like to call it), let the Happy Feet review begin.

You probably think I’m a little kooky for wanting to see Happy Feet (not to mention the whole nipple stuff from the previous paragraph). Happy Feet is indeed aimed at a younger audience with its cookie cutter plot and child friendly show tunes, but its stunning visuals and musical performances make it more than your average feel good cartoon. It also doesn’t hurt that Happy Feet boasts the incredible vocal talents of Robin Williams under its wing.

The story is nothing new; little Mumble, aka Happy Feet, grows up different from the other penguins because of his eccentric tap dancing and atrocious singing voice. In a penguin society where status, and most importantly, mating rights, are dependent on a beautiful voice, Mumble seems destined for crazed hermit-penguin status.

In addition to tap dancing, Mumble is also an excellent designated driver

Eventually, Mumble is cast out from his penguin homeland for his strange ways and disturbing questions about the “aliens” who might be causing the fish scarcity (read: humans). Mumble then sets out to discovery the mystery behind the disappearing fish and in the process prove himself worthy to his family and friends. Occasional danger, hilarity, sadness, and triumph ensue.

Happy Feet is a movie that survives on its incredibly detailed animation and over the top musical performances. When Mumble struggles through a blizzard, you can see individual feathers rippling in the blustery, snow-laden wind. And when Mumble and his little Mexican penguin buddies (yes, you read that correctly) get chased by Killer Whales, each Orca tooth is large and threatening to the smallest detail. This is a beautiful movie. And it has a musical soundtrack to match it.

The musical talents of Nicole Kidman (good), Hugh Jackman (okay), Brittany Murphy (surprisingly good), and Robin Williams (crazy good) pack a powerful punch. Songs and dances are plentiful and well orchestrated and are sure to delight children and even adults. The infectious tunes of Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Earth, Wind, & Fire made even my tone-deaf body quiver with rhythm.

The voice acting is superb during the numerous musical performances and generally bland the rest of the time. Elijah Wood voices Mumble and while he’s appropriately eager, vulnerable, and determined, he’s also very vanilla. Except for Robin Williams' lines, most dialogue is eminently forgettable. Fortunately, Williams voices not one but two characters and manages to bring some spit and zing to otherwise blah-ridden conversations.

Besides the trite dialogue and storyline, I did have a major gripe with the 2nd half of the movie. The missing-fish plot felt tacked on and some of the later developments were nothing more than an ill-disguised deus ex machina. Children are likely to ignore these issues but they’re sure to trigger double takes from adults – “What the hell just happened?”

Yes, sir, even you may enjoy Happy Feet... and the occasional chest waxing

As long as you understand that the storyline and some suspicious plot developments are inconsequential, Happy Feet delivers a spectacular musical and cinematic performance that is worth you’re time. Children will doubtless get the most out of this film, but even hairy-nippled adults should enjoy Happy Feet.

Happy Feet gets a solid “Paul” rating. It doesn't break ground, but what it does well, namely visuals and songs, it does very well.


For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble
Memorable Movie Endings
A couple months ago, a friend and I were crammed into a booth on an overnight train ride through the Thailand countryside. To take our minds off our atrophying buttocks we started talking. Since I was part of the conversation, the topic, naturally, was about movies.

We tried to make a list of the most memorable movie endings we had ever seen. This was a surprisingly difficult task since good movies frequently have forgettable endings. For example, I really liked Trading Places with Eddie Murphy (back when he was funny) and Dan Akroyd (back when he was working). Great setup, super cast, but what happened at the end? I’m not talking about a general, "Eddie and Danny tricked the two brothers and now they’re rich, blah, blah, blah." I mean specifically, what exactly happened? I don’t remember and chances are you don’t either.

By definition, a memorable movie ending is one that you can think of off the top of your head; it could be clever, unexpected, appropriate, or even depressing as hell but one that stayed with you well after the credits.

Here are a few movie endings that have stayed with me, and I invite you to share your own.

Spoilers lurk below

Usual Suspects – You can argue all day whether or not everything in Usual Suspects made “sense,” but you can’t deny that Kevin Spacey’s final exit was very, very cool. The finishing touch was when the too-smug Chazz Palminteri was left standing on the curb completely clueless and outclassed.

American History X – This was a dark, gritty film that was on the cusp of becoming sentimental before it took a loaded gun and shot it’s way into this list. The senselessness of the final scene reopened all those emotional wounds gouged in by the film’s previous acts.

An alternate ending had Charlton Heston come down with a severe case of "Jungle Fever"

Planet of the Apes – I already knew how this one ended before I pressed Play, and I was still surprised. By the way, if you think I'm referring to the 2001 version with Mark Wahlberg then you have just suffered a recent head trauma and require immediate medical attention.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – This movie had all kinds of excellent in it: great cast, great plot, and memorable characters that stayed true to their doomed-gunslinger persona right up until the very last frame.

If you squint really hard you can kind of see Thelma & Louise
hanging out with a pack of vultures

Thelma & Louise – I’ll confess that I haven’t seen this entire movie. I know there’s some gun shooting and some half naked Brad Pitt in there, but fifteen years later, the ending remains so memorable that it’s become a cliché (Wayne’s World 2, anybody?). It’s also very much like an updated version of the Butch Cassidy ending, but still memorable for all of that.

Brazil – Odd, odd film. I’d like to take some props because I actually saw this one coming; as strange as Brazil was, I knew there was no way Jonathon Pryce was going to get off that well.

For some reason, my memorable endings lean on the dark and tragic side (perhaps it’s a reflection of my tragic love for dairy products?). Please share the movie endings that have stuck with you and maybe we’ll learn about you in the process.


Totally Random Horoscope
11/29 - whenever
Shame on me, I haven't made (read: dreamed up during a peyote high) a new horoscope in weeks, no doubt leaving at least three people without any direction in their lives. Bad Matt! Allow me to satisfy your cravings with this sumptuous, and of course, totally random, horoscope.

Early in the morning your manhood (or womanhood) will be questioned during a fracas involving an E-Z Bake Oven. In a misguided attempt to redeem yourself, you will take your family to a Red Lobster and attempt to eat 60 pieces of shrimp. After eating 18, you will throw up, impressing nobody but the 250lbs. kid behind you, who incidentally decides to give up meat and become a vegetarian.


Pick of Destiny is better than a warm, gentle enema,
but not by much

The Pick of Destiny is part musical, part biography, and pure stoner. Jack Black and Kyle Gass star as Tenacious D, a rock band in search of greatness and enough cash for rent. The Pick tries to ride Jack Black's frantic energy as far as it can but the lack of polish and consistent laughs prevents this film from achieving the blissful high it tries so hard to reach.

You'll likely hate this movie if you've never heard of Jack Black or Tenacious D (or are over childbearing age). This flick reeks of sophomoronic vulgarity but there isn't enough bang to justify the Destiny moniker.

Dedicated fans of the "D," will probably find enough humor to be satisfied but this isn't the best way to be introduced to the pair. Check out the HBO episodes or their CDs for a better introduction.

Recapping: If you're a senior citizen and never heard of JB or "Kage" then Pick of Destiny gets a full on "Ringo (1 out of 4 stars)."
If you're desparate for a Tenacious D fix, then POD will probably get you off with a "George (2 out of 4 stars)."


The Smell of Tension is in the Air
The Déjà vu Review
When I walk into a room I can immediately detect (or sniff out, if you will) any residual fart stink as well as the exact number of hairs sprouting out of each person’s furry ear. I have no equal when it comes to detecting small personal flaws, except maybe for Denzel Washington’s newest character, government agent Doug Carlin.

Of course, Doug’s job isn’t to sniff out the last time someone sharted a big one; he’s more concerned about finding the terrorist behind a massive New Orleans bombing that’s killed hundreds of people.

With his eye for details, Doug Carlin quickly determines that not all is what it seems. There are too many inconsistencies in the crime scene; a misplaced body, a missing partner, and strange notes all point to a greater conspiracy.

This build up of tension and unease is one of Déjà vu’s greatest strengths. For the first forty minutes, the sense that something isn’t quite right is strong and constant. The film’s focus is squarely on the growing body of suspicious evidence and the sparse dialogue is smart and to the point, like the rest of the film’s setup.

It also doesn’t hurt that Denzel Washington is perfect for this role. His expressive face slides between anger, laughter, and thoughtful consideration with ease. At one point, Denzel’s character becomes obsessed with a woman (played by Paula Patton) that he believes is integral to solving the bombing. The mixture of sexual desire, tenderness, and longing on Denzel’s face when he views her is creepy and strange but completely appropriate for the film. I couldn’t think of another actor who could bring Doug Carlin to life. And somehow Denzel looks as good today as he did back in the Civil War.

That is one good-looking civil war veteran.

Déjà vu’s gripping tension is highlighted with some very well orchestrated action sequences. This film also features one of the more creative car chases I’ve seen in quite a while. It gets the heart pounding and keeps the audience guessing what will happen next. Unfortunately Déjà vu does suffer an occasional let down.

Without spoiling any plot twists, I will say that some complicated science is involved. And the requisite explanations drag the film’s pacing down to that of a two-legged dog’s. Adam Goldberg is often hilarious during these explanations but the scientific babble probably could have been toned down a notch or two.

More disappointing than the occasional plot slow down is the disjointed final thirty minutes. Early on, Déjà vu used the presence of significant details to hint at a greater conspiracy, so it’s frustrating when those details aren’t completely resolved and explained by the film’s conclusion. There is excitement and drama, but the satisfaction is tempered by the feeling that director Tony Scott cheated to get the ending he wanted.

Déjà vu offers great atmosphere and excitement and clings to both for as long as it can. Although there is a bit of a let down in the film’s second half, this is still a quality action flick with plenty to think about. I smell a decent one here and I think you’ll agree.

Déjà vu finds itself in Paul territory.
(That’s the equivalent of 3 out of 4 stars for the unitiated)


James Bond rises again on well-muscled legs
When discussing the best Bond actors, the conversation begins and ends with Sean Connery. Of the now six actors to don the 007 mantle the Scotsman is most responsible for elevating the Bond franchise into a major box office draw, mostly accomplished through his combination of charisma, physicality, intelligence, and fluffy chest hair. With the release of Casino Royale, Sean Connery remains the final word in the best Bond debate, but Daniel Craig has at least earned a say in the discussion.

Daniel Craig is a new kind of Bond. His startlingly blue eyes, not to mention his Bowflex physique, expose a vitality and physical presence that surpasses even Sean Connery (though it’s slightly hampered by the frequent Derek Zoolander impersonation). Still, Craig’s vitality shines through a rough exterior that is sometimes lacking in the debonair luster of previous Bonds.

One early scene perfectly captures the new Bond’s effective yet unpolished manner. In the scene, Bond pursues a demolitions expert into a construction site. The man becomes cornered in a small room but adroitly flips through a small, elevated window. Bond ignores the window and instead runs straight through the newly constructed wall, splintering wood and plaster everywhere.

Pecs. Check. Biceps. Check. Six pack. Check. Fluffy Chest Hair...

Daniel Craig’s roughshod manner is actually quite appropriate for Casino Royale though many people won’t realize it.

Despite a few early references, the film largely glosses over the fact that Casino Royale marks the very first appearance of James Bond. Creator Ian Fleming wrote a number of stories about the British spy with Casino Royale as the first. Consequently, Bond has just been promoted as a “double-O” operative and it shows. His skills are already world class, but his judgment isn’t always perfect and a new emotional vulnerability peeks out from time to time. These flaws add a brand new dimension to the Bond franchise.

Perhaps for the first time, James Bond is a real character with meaningful weaknesses and imperfections. Even with Sean Connery, James Bond was never more than a dashing black tux; a tux that could kill men and seduce women with ease, but one incapable of indecision and reflection. In one scene from Casino Royale, Daniel Craig pauses to study his mirrored image after killing an assailant. The hinted vulnerability reveals the price for his constant composure. This serious side of James Bond hasn’t gotten much attention before and its appearance is just one of many changes in the 007 franchise.

The excessive camp and groan inducing puns of the Brosnan films have been thankfully discarded, but don’t worry too much because director Martin Campbell has infused Casino Royale with a much more intelligent and sharper sense of humor. Also new is an honest to goodness relationship between Daniel Craig and the latest “Bond girl,” Vesper Lynd (played by a reasonably deft Eva Green). Watching their relationship develop is one of the surprising joys of the film but their chemistry does occasionally falter. The action sequences also come off well, thanks in large part to Daniel Craig’s obvious athleticism.

Casino Royale isn’t without flaws. As charismatic as Daniel Craig is, he doesn’t quite have the confidence and assurance of a Pierce Brosnan (not to mention Sean Connery). In more than one scene James Bond does not look as composed as he should and not all of these momentary weaknesses seem part of the script. Playing along with the theme of a James Bond coming into his own, the music often teases at playing the famous Bond theme before finally giving in. But besides the catchy theme, most of the music is generic and forgettable. Action scenes in particular receive poor musical accompaniment. And despite the film’s emphasis on character development, the bad guys are both banal and bland.

Ironically, Casino Royale’s plot is completely insignificant despite being penned by creator Ian Fleming. The key to the film and the franchise has always been James Bond and everything else, plot included, has always been secondary.

Daniel Craig is mostly successful as the newest incarnation of the Suited One. His physical demeanor is tastefully offset by a dry wit and a lighter arrogance than previous Bonds. Casino Royale is smart and stylish enough that fans will still hang around for this grittier and more realistic (in a way) 007. And now when discussing the best Bond actors, Daniel Craig deserves a word in the conversation, even if he is short on fluffy chest hair.

With my new rating system, Casino Royale gets a "Paul." Better than a George and Ringo but not quite good enough for a John.


The Spoon accepts Bestest Blog of the Day honors with open arms and a nearly fresh tooshie

My new best friend Jessie (!) from Who Are We was kind enough to name The Spoon as The Bestest Blog of the Day over at The Bestest Blog of All Time! I’d like to be humble and say that it’s an honor just to be nominated, but really, I’ve been coveting this award like it was my neighbor’s wife, and not the homely one either.

You’re probably wondering what the heck you’re doing here, so let me give you a snippet about myself and The Spoon.

Reviews are kind of my “thing.” Some people like to fight chickens and others sniff glue - I happen to like watching and talking about movies. If you also like talking about movies then this is probably a good spot for you to hang out.

I only have a few creative thoughts a day so my posts tend to be the every-other-day variety. And as much as I like to hear my own voice (or read my own words… or whatever), I try not to subject my captive readers to the disturbing details of my latest cheese grating accident or bowel movement (although they do sometimes slip out in a manner of speaking).

Now that we’re acquainted I’d like to ask for your help

You see, my movie rating system has been completely lacking in consistency and panache. Below are some rating systems I’m considering using and I’d greatly appreciate it if you could comment on which ones you like, which ones you hate, and what sexy clothing you’re currently wearing.

Feel free to also suggest your own rating systems.

Rating system candidates:

1) The Five Star system – Every movie gets a one to five star rating, one star being hideous and five stars being excellent. Very vanilla.

2) The One Star system – Excellent movies get a full star while less than perfect movies get a fraction. For example, Stranger than Fiction would get 8/11ths of a star. Slightly less vanilla.

3) The Steetlight system – Movies get a green for “go see this,” yellow for “proceed with caution” and red for “less fun than a twelve car pile up.”

4) The Strange Analogy system – I’ll compare the movie watching experience with a descriptive analogy. For example, “Watching Lucky Number Slevin is a lot like eating an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting. At times the flavor is sharp and tasty, but after a while you feel bloated and painfully aware that a bag of Doritos is not a true meal.”

5) The Beatles system – The highest rating is a “John,” followed by a “Paul,” then a “George,” and pulling up the rear is a “Ringo.”

Running with Scissors would get a "Ringo"

Reader submissions are encouraged.


You've got to be sh*tting me
I usually don't write about my personal life because it's not all that interesting even to me, but yesterday something happened that almost defies description and will almost surely destroy any shred of respect you may have had for me.

Before you hear my tragic tale, a couple personal notes must be addressed.

1) I'm lactose sensitive. I'm not completely lactose intolerant, but whenever I drink milk or eat ice cream I'm playing Russian Roulette with my sphincter.

2) I sneeze very hard. On several occasions my sneeze has been mistaken for a cough and El Nino. It's really strong.

Okay, now we’re ready.

My sad tale begins like any other day. I woke up, took a shower and proceeded to dry myself off very thoroughly. I then put on my pants one leg at a time. Next I played videogames for one hour (yes, I am currently unemployed) and then decided to meet my parents for lunch.

At noon, we sat down at a restaurant together and ordered food. I ordered a fish sandwich while my mom ordered some ice cream. I ate my sandwich and also some of the ice cream. This would prove to be a very, very big mistake.

After lunch we went to the mall, my dad taking a nap in the car while my mom and I walked into Macy’s.

We chatted amiably, completely unaware of the bombshell about to descend upon us.

I opened my mouth to make a witty remark (of course), but halfway through it turned into a sneeze. However, without my conscious approval, my sphincter had been playing Russian Roulette and lost - at the exact same moment as my sneeze.

You can probably guess what happened next.

I pooted on myself.

I deftly alerted my mother through a complex series of hoots, grunts, and a brief, “I pooted on myself.” God bless her soul, she immediately ran to buy me fresh underthingies.

I then proceeded to get lost – twice – on my way to the bathroom, all the while walking like an extra from Thriller.

Use your imagination

Armed with a fresh set of undies, I planted myself in a bathroom stall and set to work on cleaning myself up. I got in a few good wipes when a very large and very loud man walked in. The stall I was in had cracks the size of Nebraska so I froze like a frightened deer and prayed that he couldn’t see or smell me. My naked legs quivered a little, but I patiently waited as my new bathroom mate urinated and continuously muttered, “oh god, oh god, oh god.”

About ten minutes later he stopped urinating and left me alone to wipe away my pooty stains and shame.

Later that evening, my mom told me to put my new underwear away in my room (salvation had come in a three pack). I replied that I didn’t ever want to see them again because of the shameful manner in which they had entered my life.

My mom turned to me and said, “ You shouldn’t say that about your new underwear, they saved your butt.” And then she laughed at me.


Some Heroes have all the fun

As I watched Heroes last night, I couldn't help but feel left out. Seemingly ordinary folks like you and me were learning how to cheat at cards (Hiro), avoid the law (Nikki), and pick up women (the mind reading guy can sooo do this) using their emerging super powers. I wanted some of that action.

But while I'm very familiar with my desire to use superpowers to cheat, lie, and pick up women, I'd really like to know what you, my dear furry readers, want in your greedy little hearts. Do you want to use your mind-reading powers to always win in strip poker? Maybe you'd like to save on airfare for your vacation? I'm intrigued beyond safety regulations.

For convenient fantasizing purposes, I've put twelve powers together for your perusal. Vote for which one you'd most like to have and I encourage you to explain exactly (and in great detail) what you'd do in the comments section.

Spoilers may reside in the following poll. Sneaky bastards.


True Story:
Stranger than Fiction
is good

My dad and I have a running joke that half of all movies are in some way “based on a true story” or “inspired by true events.” And oftentimes by relying on the “inspirational” nature of these (invariably) dramatic movies, they become bland and predictable; before your little tooshie hits the seat you already know the guy makes the football team, the girl wins the case, the horse wins the race, and the deer catches the bullet with it’s face.

Fortunately, Stranger than Fiction takes the “inspired by true events” concept and turns it completely on it’s head. The result is an understated, funny, and surprisingly deep film that adeptly avoids the clichéd and commonplace.

The synopsis: A troubled writer (Emma Thompson) struggles to kill off her book’s main character, a methodical, lonely man named Harold Crick (Will Ferrell). Without warning or explanation, the writer’s foreboding narration descends upon the real-life Harold Crick (this is the “inspired by true events” part), triggering a rash of decisions and changes.

Let me get out one last warning (last one, I promise): this movie is not Talledega Nights, Elf, Old School, or Anchorman. If you walk into Stranger expecting to see drunk, naked men or guys getting high on tranquilizer darts then you will be disappointed. This isn’t to say there aren’t any laughs, because there are many, but the laughs in Stranger than Fiction are there because they punctuate the storyline and not the other way around.

I’d really like to explain exactly how Stranger than Fiction spins, punctuates and wraps up it’s storyline, but then I’d be robbing you of a lot of what makes this movie so special. Also, the plot defies cute, packaged descriptions. Suffice it to say, the storyline is unique and original and the characters are memorable and heartfelt in their actions and emotions.

Stranger Than Fiction has a lot of truth, just like my buddy Col. Jessep

Along those lines, Will Ferrell is superb as Harold Crick. Ferrell’s trademark humor and zaniness often lurks just beneath Harold’s blank surface but it creeps out often and to great effect. The film’s understated dialogue successfully emphasizes rather than restrains Will Farrell’s considerable comic abilities and on the whole, the dialogue crackles with sharp barbs, poignant asides, and textured conversations that are all too rare in recent films.

Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman also turn in excellent performances. Thompson is always a wonderful actress and her work here is no departure from the norm. On the other hand, I’ve been disappointed with several of Dustin Hoffman’s recent works (Meet the Parents 2), but his role as Professor Hilbert is restrained, smart, and very funny. Maggie Gyllenhaal also deserves praise despite a slightly uneven performance.

You’ll probably want to see Stranger than Fiction because of Will Ferrell, and rightfully so. But if you’re expecting a brainless Will Farrell flick, you’ll probably miss out on what’s in front of you; an excellent, understated film with a fair dose of humor and heart.

And that’s the truth.


Weeds burns with bright wit and rich, flavorful plots
(without lowering your sperm count)

Shows like Weeds are the reason God created Netflix. All too often a television series will settle into a monster of the week (X-Files) or crime of the week (CSI:Miami) storyline that begins and ends in a convenient yet unfulfilling one-hour package. Weeds takes a refreshing break from that stuffy mold while following the never-ending and often hilarious trials of a pot-dealing single mother.

As a recently widowed mother of two, the ends just won’t meet for Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker) and dealing offers the only respite. And dealing in suburban America offers its own set of difficulties, as relentless gossip and PTA intrigue can wreak havoc on a growing drug empire. Nancy must wrestle with the pain of her husband’s tragic death, the difficulties of raising two growing boys, and the unending pressure to survive the law and her drug dealing competition. It’s fun, hilarious, dark, and tragic. It’s also great television.

Light 'er up baby

The secret ingredient of Weeds is its truly amazing cast of characters. Talents like Mary Louise Parker (Boys on the Side), Elizabeth Perkins (He Said, She Said), and Romany Malco (The 40 Year Old Virgin) lay on the drama, energy, and sarcasm so well it’s got to be unhealthy. And the final proof of Weeds’ comedic chops is how even Kevin Nealon (SNL) manages to shine as a supremely mellow PTA President/pothead.

Mary Louise Parker alone could carry this show as the multi-layered, eponymous pot dealing mom. Vulnerable and frightened or tough and capable, Mary dances through her roles with grace, aplomb, and a sarcastic jibe waiting to dart from her lips. And every bit of Mary Louise Parker’s considerable acting ability is necessary because her character, Nancy Botwin, is on one hell of a rollercoaster ride.

In one memorable scene, Nancy confronts a competing dealer who has pushed some product onto a ten year old. Clearly enraged, Nancy seems just as surprised as the dealer when she physically threatens him to stop dealing to children. I won’t spoil how this altercation ends, but the surprise and intensity of the scene remains just as believable and captivating as the humorous banter between Nancy and her queen-bitch neighbor played by Elizabeth Perkins.

Be warned however that Weeds is not fun for the whole family. Teenaged sex, adultery, not to mention drug dealing and drug use are constantly on screen and in your face. And at times the series can drop into the realm of tragedy with a bluntness that isn’t appropriate for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend watching Weeds in front of your impressionable children or religious mother-in-law with the Jesus tattoo on her back.

As much as I want to go on with my glowing and fantastically written review, I’m afraid I’ll spoil the plotlines and ruin the mellow you’ll get from this sure-fire hit. With any luck, you’ve already taken my advice and ordered the first season’s DVD, but second season is off-limits because it’s not out yet and I have first dibs.

Casting Call to fulfill your Greatest Fantasy!
(assuming your greatest fantasy is playing Fantasy Basketball with me)

Have you ever watched an NBA game and thought, “Boy, I wish those players were my personal sex slaves?” If your answer is “yes” (or “no”) then you can run your very own fantasy basketball team… as long as you meet the following requirements:

1. No fear of the internet
2. Survived viewing of Chairman of the Board
3. Able and willing to read
4. Can drink gallon of milk in less than an hour

The training is intense...

But the rewards are worth it

Here’s the deal: A few friends and myself started a basketball league and we now find ourselves several managers short of a full league. If you’re at all interested in participating in sex slavery fantasy basketball please leave me a comment with your email address or email me directly at hawaiimatthew@hotmail.com (or use the mailing button to the right of the page ->).

If you DO want to participate but are afraid to because you’re unknowledgeable about the NBA, suffer from halitosis, or have excessive back hair then I’ve got a proposition:

I will share my Yoda-like experience and wisdom with you through this blog and train you like the late Mr. Miyagi.

Perhaps our journey of growth and learning will lead to a movie deal in which I will be played by George Clooney and you can be played by that chick from Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place.

Let’s go make that fantasy come true.


Lock the doors and turn on the lights cause it’s gettin' all creepy up in here
5 Creepy Movie Moments

As I lay in bed last night waiting for sweet, sweet slumber to overtake me, rotting zombies burst into my room to tear off my tender and juicy flesh. Fortunately, my quick reflexes shot me out of bed and in front of the light switch just in time to realize that I was crazy and hallucinating.

I wish I could say this was a one-time event, but my bad dreams and hallucinations are happening more and more frequently. And it’s all part of a vicious cycle because once awake, my crazy little brain can’t stop thinking about other creepy visions. The only way I was able to sleep last night was by rubbing my Buddha and Steve Young statues for reassurance and playing video games until I passed out. But today I’m going to exorcise my demons by listing some of the creepiest moments in movies (and no, I can't explain why this helps). As in life, creepiness is most potent when it’s not expected, so I’m choosing moments that aren’t from true horror films (like The Exorcist or The Shining).

If you’re a fraidy cat like me I don’t suggest reading this list in the dark, but if you do want to get freaked out, I recommend watching these movies locked in a dark room with a convicted mental patient/murderer.

Mulholland Dr.
Like many David Lynch flicks, this whole movie reeks of the “creepy.” I’m still not certain if I understand what actually happens, but Mulholland Dr. is chock full of moments that paralyzed my body with dread, anxiousness, and :-0. In fact, I can’t settle on a single moment from this movie so I’m picking two scenes that weird-ed me out. The first creepy scene is when the waitress (played by Naomi Watts) investigates the alley behind her restaurant. It sounds innocent enough, but it’s not. The music, timing, and acting make it scary as hell and fearsome beyond my descriptive abilities. The second moment is when the leads (Naomi Watts and Laura Harring) investigate a dead body. I dare you to watch it without wearing Depends.It’s been long enough since I’ve seen this movie that many of the details escape me, but the creepiness factor remains as strong as ever.

Could you please pass the popcorn?
Donnie Darko
I can’t look at Jake Gyllenhaal without thinking of this movie (or Bubble Boy for that matter). Donnie is less creepy overall than Mulholland Dr., but whenever Frank the Rabbit gets on the screen I’m ready to change my boxers. Lots of movies use innocence in the face of terror to mess with your head (like The Others, Signs, The Exorcist), but taking a bunny and making it so freaking horrifying that it haunts your dreams – that’s brilliant. I should add that Frank the Bunny has made more than one appearance in my nightmares, stupid fricking rabbit.

I need a hug... and maybe a Long Island Iced Tea
The Sixth Sense
Dead people are creepy, yes, but that’s not the reason I’m including The Sixth Sense in my list. My scary radar shot up in that one scene where Haley Joel Osmont (in his pre-drunkard days) is at a birthday party and hears a dead guy calling to him. As he slowly makes his way up the stairs to the dead guy (anticipation growing with each step), the voice grows louder and angrier. By the time Haley gets outside of the room with the voice, the dead guy is loud and disturbing in the worst possible way. That’s when a couple evil children grab Haley and lock him in the room. I guess I’d start drinking too if that happened to me.

Laugh if you want, but the Thriller video is more than a little spooky. Even though I really like the music and even the dancing, it’s MJ himself that’s the creep in question. If you recall the ending, the evil MJ-zombie is right about to get the girl when she wakes up and the almost-human version (the African American to Caucasian morph is only partway finished) is there instead. Then the almost-human MJ turns to the camera and his evil, yellow cat eyes send voodoo darts straight directly at you. That’s freaky as hell and the freeze frame on his face prolongs the heebeejeebie attack. Damn you MJ. Damn you and your fake nose and your freaky cat-eyes.

Blair Witch Project
You could argue that the Blair Witch Project was a true horror film and therefore doesn’t belong on this list. My counter argument is that my friends used a successful campaign of lies and deceit to trick me into believing this movie was real-life recovered footage and not actually a movie at all. I believed everthing was real, straight up to the horrifying finale. To this day I don’t understand what happened in that final scene where the girl rushes into the room and sees the dude staring blankly in the corner before they both "die." If you know what happened or have a theory, please post it, because not knowing is putting a crimp in my soiled jockeys.

There’s my list and I invite you to share any movie moments that creep you out. Maybe the sharing will be cathartic and maybe not, but at the very least somebody will have an excellent list of scary movies to watch. In the meantime I think I’ll go rub my Buddha and Steve Young statues.


Fun with Dick and Jane had fun at my expense – and I was not pleased

In Fun with Dick and Jane, Jim Carrey channels his trademark energy and goofiness to heights not seen since Liar Liar - but with much less success. Dick (Jim Carrey) is a hardworking middle manager at a growing tech firm. When the firm begins to buckle under shaky business practices, Dick is set up as the scapegoat. After the fallout Dick is left with a mortage, car payments, kids, a stay-at-home-wife (Tea Leoni), and absolutely no job or income to support them. Naturally he turns to crime.

Fun with Dick and Jane is built upon one central joke: Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni playing at criminal tomfoolery and it doesn’t take long for the joke to wear thin. In fact, after about twenty minutes absolutely nothing new happens. The screen just freezes and the plot completely loses momentum soon afterwards. I really wanted to like Fun with Dick and Jane, but the lack of freshness and it’s incredibly short length (under 20min.) left me feeling like the butt of a sad, sad joke.

Editor’s Note: Matt’s Netflix DVD was actually scratched and stopped at the 20min. mark. Despite 2 hours of patient waiting, no fun was had.

After further review, Fun with Dick and Jane receives a score of Incomplete.
Get the full version if you can.


Totally Random Horoscope:
11/3 - 11/10

In this piece I like to take a manly stand on the art of horoscoping. Too often newspapers and psychics are "soft" on the future and fail to give you specific and accurate predictions. While I can't guarantee complete accuracy either, I pledge to always offer a "hard" and very specific look into the hereafter. And as always, if your horoscope does come true please let me know so I can rush my act to Vegas.

Sometime this week you will be waiting in line at the grocery store. While you wait, a brief fantasy will enter your mind concerning yourself, the cashier, and a large vat of I Can't Believe It's not Butter. The cashier will sense your animal lust and consequently overcharge you.


Bite-Sized Review: Lucky # Slevin
I'm introducing a new segment in which I'll review a movie in a single bite-sized chunk (one or two paragraphs). These bite-sized reviews won't replace full reviews (at least not completely) but they'll let me get the word out on more movies. Hopefully you'll get more bang for that buck you're not spending.

Josh Hartnett stars in Lucky # Slevin as the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Specifically, Josh is mistakenly identified as a lowlife deadbeat with debts to not one but two very violent and oddly whimsical gangers (played by Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley) who both want him to pay up - immediately. Josh must act quickly to save his skin and along the way he recruits Lucy Liu in her spunkiest performance I've ever seen.

For the first hour, Slevin attempts to be the most clever thing since sliced bread. Characters spit out the zingers at rapid-fire pace but little of it is memorable. By the film's second half the tone darkens considerably and those zingers get replaced with bullets and punches. And make no mistake, much of the playfulness that marked the movie's first half has turned and fled by the second hour. But if plot twists and turns are your thing, then this ride packs enough action and wordplay to keep the ride interesting.

Out of a 1-5 scale, Lucky # Slevin gets 2.5 stars.
This one has "rental" written all over it.


Halloween is Super(un)naturally Sexy

Let me get something off my chest: Halloween and me don't really get along. Even as a child I never had a sweet tooth and I've never liked dressing up. When I was forced to wear a costume I always stuck with the same unofficial theme and I challenge you to figure it out. When I was six I dressed up as a crying ghost. A year later I was the crying cowboy and the year after that I wowed my entire neighborhood as the crying and screaming pirate. Once I hit puberty I knew I couldn't top these gems so I hung up my fake spurs and peg leg and never wore a costume again.

Fortunately, as I've gotten older I've learned to appreciate other people's enthusiasm for Halloween. I especially admire Halloween enthusiasm when it's in the form of sexy costumes. This isn't to say I only like slinky bunny outfits, oh no sirreee. I like a wide variety of Halloween costumes, such as the sexy nurse, the sexy witch, and even the sexy street-walker.

Despite my newfound appreciation for Halloween enthusiasm (in the form of sexy costumes), Halloween still takes time out of its busy schedule to bust my chops. For example, I might innocently be following a very creative outfit like this one.

This costume has good tone and firmness.

I follow, follow, follow and maybe I bump into a pole or two whilst caught in the throes of appreciation. No biggie. Finally I catch up to the costume and find out that the creative sexy person wearing it is in fact a guy. Usually he is not as attractive as the woman I expected to see.

I don't understand how dudes with adam's apples and five o' clock shadows can have legs like that, I really dont. And you'd think I would learn my lesson after the first ten or fifteen times this happened. Nope. I swear something about Halloween gets into me and hairy man-legs magically draw my eyes like evil voodoo magnets. Just one more reason why Halloween and me aren't BFF.

Consider this a public service announcement to all you innocents out there and I hope your Halloween involved fewer sexy man-legs than mine.


Running with Scissors should actually run with scissors and in the process, trip, impale itself, and die so nobody else must watch it

Seconds before Running with Scissors began, my mother turned to me and whispered, “you know, this movie didn’t get very good reviews.” I laughed naively and nodded, secure in the knowledge that the movie was based on a very intelligent, funny and poignant memoir. I figured that critics can be too snooty for their own good and they trash quality movies all the time; unfortunately it became very clear that some movies, like Running with Scissors, get very bad reviews simply because they are very, very bad.

If you didn’t know, Running with Scissors is based on the odd childhood of Augusten Burroughs. It chronicles his life growing up with a psychotic mother and an alcoholic, distant father. Out of necessity Augesten moves in with his mother’s psychiatrist’s family, who make his real family look like the Cleavers. Most of what makes the memoirs so good is Augesten’s heartfelt search for meaning in the face of complete laugh-out-loud absurdity and disorder. Director Ryan Murphy apparently had a different take on the memoirs.

I can imagine Mr. Murphy gathering all of the actors and actresses into a circle and saying, “We’re going to play a little game and the goal is to make every scene as insanely depressing and boring as possible. Whoever does this the best wins a million dollars and by the way, you also lose points for being funny - go make me proud.” This is the only way I can explain how actors as skilled as Annette Bening and Alec Baldwin turn in such dreadful performances (although I should note that Joseph Fiennes' performance manages to claw it's way into mediocrity).

Imagine putting your nipples into this clamp. That's the same sensation as watching Running with Scissors.

Every scene is an exercise in masochism (minus the nipple clamps). Yelling, shouting, fighting, and crying all play a large role in this movie and are frequently used in place of meaningful conversations and good acting. And heaven forbid a moment of brevity and laughter should slip into the fold. Savor every chuckle you can get because those errant pieces of comedy get squashed in a matter of seconds.

The lone bright spot in Running with Scissors is its soundtrack. Ironically, the soundtrack is used to horrible effect since it often serves as a counterpoint to depressing, overly dramatic events on the screen. Whatever pleasure might have come from hearing Phoebe Snow’s The Poetry Man, or Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets gets lost under the suffocating dialogue and overacting. And when that wonderful soundtrack isn’t playing you can literally hear crickets chirping. And I’m not even kidding.

I have some advice for those of you who wanted to see Running with Scissors. If you liked the quirky, sharp-witted previews, go rent The Royal Tanenbaums by Wes Anderson. If you found Augesten’s story intriguing, go read the book instead. And if you’ve already read Running with Scissors, for god’s sake don’t see this movie.


9 Weird Things about Me
My first tag!

The last time I played tag I was 4 feet tall, my voice cracked with every other word, and girls gave me wedgies. Yes, last week was not kind to me. But Emma at All About My Movies is bringing tag back in a much kinder context - to talk about 9 Weird Things About Me. Hopefully this will not involve wedgies.

Before I dive into all that is strange and unholy about me, I'd like to give a quick hooray to the University of Hawaii football team! This past night I witnessed their complete dismantling of the Idaho Vandals (which is an awful team name by the way). The final tally was 68 to 10 and the score actually makes the game seem closer than it was. Awesome.

On to the unholiness.

1. I have an intense dislike of balloons.
I also really dislike kites and anything else that can fly out of my hand and up, up, up into space. Whenever I had a balloon as I child, I wrapped that sucker so hard around my wrist that it cut off blood circulation. I'm much better now, mostly because I won't come within ten feet of a flying object (and yet somehow I can still get on airplanes - go figure).

2. For as long as I can remember I've followed a fairly complex toweling ritual after every shower and bath. I won't go into specifics, but it's very thorough.

3. I take fantasy sports very seriously.
Case in point: tomorrow I'm waking up at the crack of dawn (read: 10am) to scour basketball magazines and the internet in preparation of my basketball draft. Another sports quirk is how I name all my teams after movie and tv references that only sometimes make sense. My current football teams are The Bad-Tempered Rodents and God is my Co-Manager while my basketball teams are named Dial M for MacGuyver. One of my old personal favorites is The Schwetty Ballers.

Via: VideoSift

4. I answer to the names Ma-foo, Matty-mo and Jedi-Warrior. My parents are the only people who use these names but they've been saying them for so long that I only occasionally realize how weird it is.

5. My nostrils take turns whistling.
I'm not sure why this is, or why my mouth can't whistle if my nose can. Basically my nose is my most musically inclined body part.

6. When I was 7 years old, my mom went on vacation while my dad took care of me and my brother at home. One day we went to a baseball game and I ate so many hot dogs and pizzas that my little body cramped into the fetal position. I don't clearly remember how this experience ended but it did involve the emergency room and my father's words, "Mommy doesn't need to know about this, okay?"

7. I have a twin brother who looks and acts nothing like me.
He's a little bit country and I'm a little bit rock 'n roll (okay, not really). We're fraternal twins but I like to tell him that he's adopted. Unrelated Funny Story: One night when we were 12 years old, my brother and I were having a heated argument even after we had turned off the lights and got into bed (separate beds, mind you). My brother suddently got very quiet, and under the cover of darkness he crept to my side of the room and peed on my backpack. I love that guy.

8. I can crack my body in roughly 20 different locations.
It doesn't hurt but it doesn't really feel all that good either.

9. Sitting on my desk beside me is a wooden, hand carved Buddha statue I recently purchased while visiting Thailand. Next to it is a bobblehead of Steve Young.

I don't know the etiquette of tagging, so if you want to write 9 weird things about yourself consider this a "tag, you're next."