Gloating Denied!
I was all set to get my gloat on over my first victory in Name That Movie! when Ian ups and wins! Again!

Yes, that dastardly Ian (of Adventures of the S-Team fame) has foiled my plans by correctly identifying The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

I remember watching this adventure flick way back when I was just a wee little boy. I was forever traumatized by the image of death, which was offset somewhat by lovely nubility (if that's not a word, it should be) of Uma Thurman. Other positives include a man with enough wind to blow down an army and another dude not named Superman who can run faster than a speeding bullet. And of course there's the Baron, played by John Neville, who exudes the exact brand of bravado and dashing derring-do that you want from a hero not named Chuck Norris. And he really knows how to make it with the ladies, if you know what I mean.

This one's for the ladies

And one for the men

And for everyone else into the kinky stuff. You know who you are

Congratulations again to Ian and enjoy watching The Adventures with my blessing.

And I apologize to squish for his continued failure. Better luck next time!


Name That Movie!

The first thing I did this morning was hack up a gob of phlegm roughly the size of Stephen Hawking's brain, and we all know what that means:

It's time for another rousing edition of Name That Movie!
to be immediately followed by a trip to the doctor.

Due to my three toed sloth like slowness, everyone is eligible to participate and win in this week's contest. Remember: I'll show a picture and hint from a movie and all you have to do is guess the movie's title in the comment section. You'll win fame, respect, money, and hot boys/girls to do naughty things to you, but mostly you'll get your name emblazoned here (and isn't that what we all really want anyway?).

Here's the picture:

And here's the hint:
This movie displays some incredible speed, strength, and superhuman hearing.

Now get to it!


A Day in the Life
Since nobody shared their deserted island movies with me, I have no choice but to write about my poops.

Now that I have a job, my poops are no longer my own. I must dole them out carefully when I’m not helping customers or daydreaming about Elisha Cuthbert and tartar sauce.

Mmmmm... Tartar sauce....

I’ve realized that poops can be a highly valued commodity in the workforce; they’re kind of like brown, stinky tokens that can be exchanged for a free break. I mean, given a choice, every boss in the world will want you to take a dump in a toilet instead of on a customer’s chest. That’s just good service. And by carefully timing your bowel movements, you can effectively double your break time. Granted, you’ll be spending that time perched on a toilet straining your little heart out, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The unspoken rule of customer service

My personal bowel movements are pretty regular. Meaning they regularly come when I’m helping three different customers at the same time and there’s nobody around to help me. My poops are particularly attracted to stress, I think, and arrive as soon as I feel pressured. Maybe it’s nature’s way of telling me to “hurry up” and get rid of these other people so I can take care of my own “business.”

I work with a lot of women so I’m particularly careful of leaving incriminating poop stains on the toilet seat. I figure that I will be the prime suspect in any bowel chicanery since men naturally have the dirtiest butts. To avoid unsightly smears I always create a makeshift seat cover using spit and toilet paper. The single bathroom stall is so small that it’s impossible to sit straight down and instead I have to move down at a left to right angle. But if I move too quickly then the resulting air-flow knocks over my MacGuyvered seat cover and then the risk of smear stains rises exponentially. To combat this I have to hover my butt mere inches from the seat at a roughly 45-degree angle. That’s when I snap my butt down with the speed of an attacking cobra snake.

I'm so fast, I just pooped right now while you were reading this

I’d tell you about the rest of my day, but it’s pretty inconsequential compared to this.


Martha Stewart's Deserted Island Living

Being stuck on an island can make you go a little crazy, such as starring in a bad movie with a worse haircut

The deserted island scenario is no laughing matter in my mind. If Survivor has taught me anything, it’s that being stranded on a deserted island may help you lose weight and look better naked (positive), but it will also convert your body into prime residential housing for the nastiest fleas, gnats, and lice ever to explore a sphincter (negative). It’s therefore extremely important to keep your morale high. Being able to watch a movie on this deserted island (pretend there’s a Swiss Family Robinson contraption that can operate a single dvd player and tv screen and nothing else) could mean a quiet, peaceful death (positive) or a cruel, unhappy death (negative). It all depends on which movie you choose.

The following are my top five deserted island movies:

5) Groundhog Day
This comedy gem has all the components of a timeless flick, and it better if it’s supposed to keep me from going crazy and prancing around my deserted island in Speedos and boots. Bill Murray is on top of his game and his egotism is as refreshing as it is hilarious. Also, Andie MacDowell provides just the romantic spark that’ll keep me warm inside.

4) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Probably one of the most well rounded adventure movies in the last thirty years. One of the best leading men, ever, in Harrison Ford gives the Last Crusade the kind of inspiring heroism that can make every challenge seem a little more manageable. The lack of a “good” leading lady is probably the one element I’m not crazy about while on my island fortress of unwanted solitude. But this is the best of the Indiana Jones series and, “I even like the color.”

3) Singing in the Rain
I used to make fun of my friend for liking such a sissy movie. Then I saw it and immediately fell in love (platonically of course) with this fun, witty, and great sing-a-long film. I’m a fan of the dancing and Gene Kelly knows how to hoof around and he’s not a bad singer either. With the incredible soundtrack as my guide, I’ll also be able to stun pigeons with my caterwauling and keep myself well fed.

2) Roman Holiday
Gregory Peck is five kinds of smooth, but we all know it’s Audrey Hepburn who will keep me "sexually healed.” Yeah, that’s right. Somebody has to keep me satisfied and I choose sweet, innocent, nubile Audrey Hepburn.

Princess Jasmine has what the Arabians called "a nice rack"
1) Aladdin
I know I could watch Aladdin forever because I practically have. Growing up I was a little, how do you say, obsessed with Aladdin. But can you really blame me? It’s got humor, action, adventure and a fairy tale romance with a male lead that I can not only admire, but occasionally look like if the lighting is bad enough. And don’t get me started on Princess Jasmine. Plus, the songs and happy ending could keep me entertained and well-fed (read: confusing stunned pigeon reference) for a long, long time.

That’s my list and I’m sure yours is different. Please share your deserted island picks so I can admire your choices, or gently poke fun at them, whichever is appropriate.


The Good Shepherd is good, but remains poor substitute for Prozac

A couple days ago my dad and I were talking about which movie we’d like to have while stranded on a deserted island. We agreed that the ideal movie should be:

1) Entertaining (to help you forget about the friendly parasites setting up shop in your boopity-boops)
2) Timeless (so you can watch it over and over like a pre-stroke Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve)
3) Uplifting (to stave off the crazies a la Cast Away’s Wilson the anthropomorphic volleyball with a heart of gold)

We also agreed that while The Good Shepherd has enough plot and visual flair to meet the first criteria, it’s also too long by half and depressing enough to make you want to grab a coconut and bash in your own skull. In other words, don’t take The Good Shepherd on any three-hour tours.

You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here, but maybe you got a wireless headset
Fans of The Mole will be happy to note that The Good Shepherd marks Robert De Niro’s second stint in the director’s chair. Apparently, De Niro wanted to direct a film about the CIA and the resulting personal and political turmoil that marked its creation. After watching the finished product I would say he succeeded almost too well.

De Niro obviously has a strong eye for the visuals and composes many excellent shots throughout the film. Foggy boat rides and gloomy London streets stand out with bold shadows and silhouettes and even the ubiquitous office scenes contain a symmetrical sterility that play a strong counterpoint to the twisting plots and machinations.

But if you’re not a fan of the spy games, consider this a big ole red flag. The Shepherd is bursting with codes, ciphers, bluffs, double bluffs, and I’m not positive, but maybe even triple bluffs. It’s never clear exactly who can be trusted and part of the film’s shine comes from the many pieces that never quite come together without a little mental work on your end. Some people will enjoy connecting the dots while more people will probably get frustrated and put off by the continued mind games.

The main participant of said mind games is CIA Operative Edward Wilson, played by Matt Damon. Wilson’s codename is Mother; it’s a silly code name for a man who probably has the smallest sense of humor, ever. Damon will get some serious award consideration for this role since it’s not easy making such a methodical, introspective individual into a watch-able and sympathetic “hero.” But Damon somehow succeeds in doing so with a stony face and the body language of a brick wall.

My main gripe with The Good Shepherd goes a little more fundamental than the visuals and acting, however. De Niro clearly wanted to show the dangerous power wielded by the upstart CIA during the Cold War and the moral dilemmas they faced. Unfortunately, all too often in The Shepherd these dilemmas are acted out as personal tragedies in Wilson’s home life. He is trapped in a loveless marriage with a strange and quiet child and these relationships are stretched beyond breaking in the course of Wilsons’ secretive work. But the extended focus on Wilsons’ home life diminshes its import and pretty soon the string of tragedies seem more like calculated plot devices than anything else. By the end of the film, I couldn’t help but feel that The Good Shepherd was doing its best to make me cry and I resented this feeling of overt manipulation.

This baby has just seen The Good Shepherd

In the end, my complaints of The Good Shepherd are really only about too much of a good thing. This is a finely crafted movie that simply tried too hard to make its point. As a result, The Shepherd runs at least 20 minutes too long and remains very, very depressing. For those of you who have the time and the interest, this can be a very rewarding film that will leave you with strong images of a confusing chapter in American history. But if you don’t have an extra 3 hours to spare or a resilient volleyball with a heart of gold to keep you from de-braining yourself, you’ll probably have a better day by skipping The Good Shepherd.

The Shepherd is well made, no doubt about it, to the tune of a Paul score (3 out of 4 stars). However, the content is so damn depressing that I only recommend it to the heartiest folk.