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.