Jun 29, 2007

Robots in disguise.

Michael Bay has a charmed professional life. Instead of making films that actually entertain he clenches his bloated budgets and makes a safe, comfortable picture, quality be damned. His style is easy to point out as he uses almost the same score for every one of his atrocious movies which always include three fast chords and pounding percussion. With dialogue that's alien to native English speakers, cartoonish action, and melodrama that makes your average romance pulp novelist queasy Bay clearly makes films for those who require absolutely no thought when watching the flickering screen. His films are so bad I do believe you're less of a person if you enjoyed 'Pearl Harbor'.

Last night Andrew called me. His wife Jessica scored tickets for an early screening of Transformers. I had an hour to get there so I quickly said yes and made the trip to the local theatre. Even though I knew Bay was the director attached to this I was mildly excited to see it. Most guys of my generation grew up watching the cartoon and playing with the toys and I am no exception.

I had little expectations though as Michael Bay films are really catering to people who believe a Thomas Kincaid painting is deep. Still I sat amongst the crowd awaiting to be mildly entertained. The opening monologue came upon us with Optimus Prime and I was in. Yes I enjoyed the exposition of this film. The first act was mildly clever and looked good, plus the chemistry from the teen leads was believable, which is rare in films of this nature. While this movie is nowhere near as funny as the audience thought it was it still gave me a few chuckles.

The rest of the film was epileptic in it's action moving so damn fast I could hardly keep up with who was who. The dialogue descended into pure shit and most characters became disposable. Some of plot advancements made little to no sense, but this is Bay were talking about. A student of the Bruckheimer popcorn standard, he is adamant in insuring that all people who've had their life changed by a Dr Phil episode are satisfied at the multi-plex. He doesn't fail them here as his action is elevated so high that many innocents are harmed or killed by being at the wrong place at the wrong time and no thanks to the military's idea of where a good place to fight is. Yes in the eternal battle between Autobots and Decepticons no one is safe.

I probably would've enjoyed the film immensely if I was ten, but I'm not and have no kids to live vicariously through. Given all my criticisms of the film I actually enjoyed some of it and not just because the love interest was uber hot.

"If it's true that there's an 8-year-old boy inside every man, Transformers is just the ticket to bring the kid out." - Todd McCarthy

Jun 28, 2007

Wiwille does plumbing and it actually ends well.

While I may not be the most handy person on the planet I do love tools and using them for their intended use rather than say as a weapon. Installing appliances, putting together cheap IKEA furniture, and/or tinkering with automotive parts is an enjoyable experience. At least that's how it starts out. Normally when I try to apply my handy craft to a particular piece of machinery it ends up with me cursing various Roman gods and I find myself making the more problems than the one I intended to fix.

Reading this would make one assume that I would finally give up on the idea of being a do-it-yourself kind of person, but no my stubborn ass feels it's appropriate to tackle any and all mechanical problems myself before I call an expert and pay out the nose. But the other day something wonderful happened.

The downstairs toilet had issues. After one flush the toilet kept running for quite a while as the water bill crept up. I opened the back toilet cover and pulled up the floater noticing that it wasn't resetting itself properly. After a little investigation I noticed the screw that held the floater in place was really loose so I brought out the screwdriver and tightened it to a reasonable level.

I hesitated on flushing again to test the results. What would happen? Would my roommate find me covered in toilet water, screaming profanities, and trying to rip the whole unit out of the wall in frustration? Would that evening entail an all nighter trying to figure out what I did wrong? Would I have to make an emergency call to a professional while the basement was flooding?

It worked. I fixed an appliance designed to rid the house of human waste. I probably spent less than ten minutes total repairing the problem. Now most people wouldn't be this thrilled with simple repair, but the fact that nothing got damaged, including myself, made me feel so manly I wanted to go barbecue an elk I just hunted with a gurka knife...with beer...oh and strippers. Yeah I'd be barbecuing while drinking beer and serving the meat to exotic dancers.

Sadly that last part did not insue.

"My mom said the only reason men are alive is for lawn care and vehicle maintenance." - Tim Allen

Jun 27, 2007

Wiwille's movie reviews part 4.

Laurel Canyon? When Mattbear submitted the film for me to review I had never heard of it, but I wasn't about to deny my most loyal reader a look at one of his favorite films. After all I did make an online promise and we all know that every oath sworn on the internet never gets broken. The day a user breaks such a promise, especially in bloggerland, massive natural disasters will erupt, Judge Judy will become president, and Scarlett will stop being hot.

Laurel Canyon is a small film set in the Hollywood Hills. The movie starts with a couple Sam (Christian Bale) and Alex (Kate Beckinsale) who are moving to the LA to finish their respective medical careers. Sam is a psychotherapist working on a residency and Alex is writing her dissertation on the mating habits of flies. Both of them move in with Sam's mom Jane (Frances McDormand), a record producer with upper class bohemian values.

While Sam is ashamed of his mother's lifestyle Alex is intrigued by the world Jane lives and works in as well as the people who inhabit it. Stripping down stereotypical New England upper calls values Alex slowly finds herself seduced by the music scene as Sam is being pursued by a hot colleague. Slowly their relationship shows signs of straining as both get more involved in facing various temptations which are abundant in their current environment.

If there's one reason to watch this movie it's Frances McDormand. She's amazing as the Joni Mitchell-esque producer with a serious lack of parental skills. Bale is always reliable and Beckinsale of course looks hot. Given it's performances the plot moves along about how you'd expect. There's no real surprises here since you've seen the 'couple with conservative mindset being thrust into a world of pleasure seekers' before, but this movie does it better than most. The characters for the most part are selfish and naive, but not unlikeable for reasons I can't explain. Since the film isn't complete formula and I enjoyed it well enough I'd recommend it.

Want to see your favorite film reviewed here? Send me an email or drop a comment.

"There wasn't a moment in the film that I didn't enjoy, but neither was there anything that got my mind or heart racing." - Manohla Dargis

Jun 26, 2007

Campaing finance reform...unconstitutional?

Being someone who hold the first amendment dear to my cold, black, unfeeling heart I'm torn about the latest Supreme Court ruling considering campaign finance reform. Under the McCain/Feingold sponsored Act corporations, unions, and various other interest groups were not allowed to run advertisements endorsing or slamming a candidate within a month of the date voters hit the polls.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that limiting such advertising by special interest groups is a violation of the first amendment. What is strange that I agree and disagree with them. Knee jerk reaction is that most of the public would like to see less special interest groups wielding their huge bank accounts and hiring PR and advertising agencies to help determine the outcome of the election; however they are within every right to do so. Should they not be able to speak their minds as any average citizen even though legally corporations are defined as a person? Should a group of people not be able to be a part of the public discourse limiting freedom of speech only to an individual? Could I have condensed this post into something almost readable?

"Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor." - Chief Justice John Roberts

Justices loosens limits on campaign ads

Jun 25, 2007

Take back the night.

When I lived in Bellingham, a college town, once a year female students would march on campus in an attempt to bring exposure to women's safety. While I salute their sentiment I was curious about what they did for the other 364 evenings in the year. I mean you have to be one seriously disturbed individual to believe that people should be vulnerable to violence, but I will always wonder what those women did to keep themselves from out of harms way.

I had a conversation with a participant after one rally about her thoughts on the matter. She believed that bringing attention to the subject will hopefully bring pressure on the university to offer things that'll make the campus safer such as more lighting, surveillance, security, and public phones. While these are all noble traits that the proper authorities will listen and hopefully take action on, the girl said nothing about personal security.

Carrying mace and/or learning a martial art was something that never crossed the mind of this girl when making her statement with her fellow marchers. I understand that learning these things can be frightening to some, but shouldn't security start with you?

Take for instance this 17 year old. She was being mugged by three people, one guy and two girls. Instead of taking an ass whooping she belted the guy in the sack and fought off the other two women who ran away.

I hear women claim that 'girl's kick butt' all the time, but I've only met a handful that actually do. Maybe I'm some gloom and doom kind of person who thinks the world is violent and cruel, and really it is, but I've always hated the type who expects their safety to be best handled by others and not take any measures themselves besides marching once a year.

I never talked with the girl after that conversation. Maybe she's still marching and hopefully her awareness of the issue becomes more enlightened. I would like a planet where women will never fall victims to shameless pig fucking guys, but until that wonderful utopia exists (never) I implore females to at least consider making security a personal responsibility as well as a communal one. March by all means girls, but don't let chanting fall on deaf ears. Especially your own.

"I just swung and hit him in the nuts and he hit the ground screaming." - Unidentified girl.

Teenage girl fights back and beats up muggers

Jun 22, 2007

Wiwille is still not smart.

I went to the gym a few days ago and got a voicemail on the way there from my personal trainer. He wasn't feeling well so they assigned another trainer for that day. No big deal I thought as long as we're doing the same program.

I walk in and inform the receptionist that I was to report to someone new. She said just to go into the workout room and my trainer will meet me there. I was on the elliptical trainer when a girl came up to me out of the blue.

"Hi," she said. "You Erik?"

"Sure am," I replied.

"Hi," she said. "I'm Heather and I'll be your personal trainer for today."

I almost fell off the contraption. Before me was a gorgeous blue eyed brunette with the body you would expect from someone who works at a gym.

"Uhhh," I said trying to keep some composure. "Cool. Lets get started."

During my time on the elliptical trainer we made chat about the workout program, the gym, then she started asking me if I read. I told her I just finished re-reading '1984' and asked her what book she was currently engaged in. She replied she was reading 'Hell's Angels'.

Oh my God! This girl knows the works of Hunter S Thompson. This instantly makes a girl go from mildly hot to absolutely smoking in Wiwille's scale of a girl's attractiveness.

She asked me if I read Harry Potter and I stated I wasn't a fan. She then told me she hated those overrated books. Add another two points on the hot scale.

After much small talk we finally got to lifting. She glanced over her chart and read to me what I've been doing. She asked if I wanted to increase any weight or reps.

Now I'm a reasonably intelligent guy. I also have a beautiful girlfriend and would never consider cheating on her regardless of how much of a flirt I am. I also understand that this trainer works at a gym and looks at hot guys every day. Guys much better looking than I could ever wish to be.

See the issue here is I know all of this, but when she asked if I wanted to increase the intensity of the workout I immediately said yes. Hell put an ox on my shoulders while I squat. I'll try and dead lift a Volkswagen. Yes I of sound mind gave no thought into how this workout will affect me.

I'm still kinda sore from that incident. What's worse is this happened to me before. Granted the girl wasn't as hot, nor was she familiar with the works of Dr Gonzo, but I still felt compelled to act all macho in front of her. Yeah I'm dumb.

"Some men are so macho they'll get you pregnant just to kill a rabbit." - Maureen Murphy

Jun 21, 2007

Wiwille's movie reviews part 3.

John Cusak is almost the perfect everyman actor. While there's nothing striking about his features other than his puppy dog manner, he can pull off the simplest of roles with ease and even play legendary figures such as Rockefeller and still remain convincing. While my favorite movie starring him is doomed to relative obscurity (Max) his better known pictures are still entertaining for the most part. Unfortunately some of the best movies he's been in gives him little screen time such as 'Cradle Will Rock' and 'Bob Roberts'.

While he's not above doing complete horseshit (America's Sweethearts, Must Love Dogs, Serendipity) a lot of his romantic comedies can be declared as some of the best in the genre. Granted this is a really low bar considering the whole premise behind most films of this nature almost require it to be unoriginal and sorely lacking in chemistry and laughs. Few times will movie goers see a romantic comedy that has actually something to say (Something New) and fewer will genuinely chuckle out loud or be actually touched by the story.

While it's difficult to really put Grosse Point Blank in the rom-com label I've always viewed it as such. Cusak plays Blank, a professional hitman who returns to his hometown for his 10 year high school reunion and coincidentally to complete a job. Upon his arrival he finds his high school sweetheart Debi (Minnie Driver, who's hot) and tries to make amends for standing her up on prom night to join the Army.

Throwing a monkey wrench into his suedo-vacation is two fellow colleagues, one who wants him to join a union and another hired to kill him. He's constantly being trailed by federal agents who are trying to catch him in the act. While reuniting with his old school chums Blank is honest about his line of work; however no one seems to take him seriously.

'Grosse Point Blank' is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. I love dark humor and this has it in spades. While not as twisted as say 'Heathers' the film delivers with it's solid cast and impeccable timing. I highly recommend it.

Want to see your favorite film reviewed here? Send me an email or drop a comment.

"With a breezy unpredictability that belies a darker underside, Grosse Pointe Blank, directed by George Armitage, is the kind of quirky, character-driven comedy they don't make much anymore." - Susan Wloszczyna

Jun 20, 2007

No confidentiality clause.

I was reading a story about an Arizona man who decided his lovemaking with a dog was an appropriate Kodak moment. Instead of embracing the digital age the canine fucker shot his act on 35mm film and brought it in to a photo lab to be processed. As you can imagine the cops were notified and the man was arrested. No word about the therapy costs for the poor lab worker.

As I've posted about before I used to work in a one hour photo lab years ago. When I tell people this they usually don a smirk and ask something to the effect of "see anything racy?" Yes I saw a lot of nudity at that job. Were they naked pictures that I wanted to see? No. A vast majority of the pics that my eyes ran across ranged from 'meh' to 'oh for the love of everything that is good and holy someone please pour Drano directly into my eyes'.

To give you an idea of the usual naked subject matter that came across the developer most of it was ass shots of people mooning the camera, guys displaying their wieners, and unclothed people getting creative with various devices ranging from marital aids to kitchen utensils. Yes it was not a job for someone with a sensitive constitution.

A couple of times housewives would find a roll of film cleaning out their cars or luggage and drop it off stating that they have no idea what the intended pictures would be. Come to find out that their hubbies were on a business trip and decided to document their extra circular activities. I imagine those negatives became helpful when they made an appointment to see a divorce attorney.

What baffles me to this day is when a customer decided to pick up their photos and they had content involving nakedness they would always ask if we looked at them. When I replied yes the customer's jaw dropped open. Some people weren't too keen on the idea of me looking at their significant others or themselves trying out amateur porn, but I never could understand why they didn't ask that in the first place. Being someone who loves messing with stupid people I would always don a big grin and act all cheerful when ringing up their order. Usually the customer would get all red faced and angry, mostly at themselves for being so naive.

For those of you who haven't embraced the digital age I, Wiwille, have some advice for you. If you chose to take pictures that fit any of the criteria explained above and are too cheap to buy a digital camera, please use a Polaroid. This will make it easier on yourself and the mental health of the photo lab developers. For those of you who have taken in film to be developed and if one of the workers actually likes seeing you naked chances are there are copies of it floating around somewhere. Yes lonely people are doing all sorts of things to themselves to your image. Sleep tight.

"Ah, yes, divorce... from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet." - Robin Williams

The forgotten victims: Wal-Mart photo processing clerks

Jun 19, 2007

What's your emergency?

Ugandan officials are pleading with it's female citizens to stop dialing 911 begging for sex. Yep apparently women there are so lonely and desperate for male companionship they feel if they aren't getting some the police should be able to provide such services. Operators of the emergency hotline are frustrated by the flooding of calls made by horny women and fear that someone in need of a real emergency will lack the appropriate response.

It's stories like these that make me think I'm in the wrong business, for as a police office I would not only protect, but serve. After all who am I to judge what's a critical emergency or not?

"How do I stay so healthy and boyishly handsome? It's simple. I drink the blood of young runaways." - William Shatner

Lustful women jam emergency lines

Jun 17, 2007

Wiwille's movie reviews part 2

Spaghetti westerns is a genre that eluded me in my youth. While my friends tell me old stories about how their fathers would sit them down and watch old the man with no name trilogy when they were young I was left out of the conversation. My father grew me up on old biblical epics such as Ben-Hur and The Robe. He liked westerns for sure and many an afternoon we would pass the time viewing High Noon, but my dad never cared for the films made famous by Sergio Leone.

When WhatIgotsofar mentioned he would like me to review the classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly I was hesitant. Again I know little about the genre and I don't have the emotional connection with films of this nature as most men of my generation. My buddy Ryon bought me a copy last Christmas and I tried to sit through it, but was distracted by something and never watched the whole thing. True to my word though I watched the film yesterday from beginning to end and am ready to review the film.

Clint Eastwood plays 'Blondie', which is strange cause he's not really blonde. Still it follows his adventures with Tuco (Eli Wallach) in an attempt to find hidden gold. Played upon the backdrop of the civil war their tumultuous relationship finds them fighting Union soldiers and constantly backstabbing each other.

Gone are the ideals of old western where stories of strong moral characters fighting evil men and riding off into the sunset after killing Indians. This film gives the west a definite raw look and feel. Nothing in the look of this picture is clean, including the characters' sense of decency. The codes most film fans saw with Gene Autry pictures are done and this movie is somewhat refreshing seeing the west through the eyes of an European. It's landscapes, colors, and character shifts are nothing short of spectacular.

Clint is excellent playing Blondie as a strong silent type with a somewhat dark side, but not all together without heart. Arguably the standout performance in the film he gives some humor to the amorality of this western tale. Not to be outdone Wallach provides a great sidekick if you will, but again he's not some bumbling jester. A tough rugged bandit Wallache's Tuco is disturbingly evil, but at the same time interesting enough to keep the viewer enthralled as to what his fate may be.

Then there's the music. Really the movie would be worthless without it's pounding score. It especially holds the slow scenes together and keeps the audiences' attention. Even people who've never seen the film can whistle it's theme and know exactly which movie it came from. And I dare you not to be enthralled by the climax, which without sound would be boring.

Given all this the movie is not without it's low points. Being an Italian production the movie is over dubbed. Some of the action is ridiculous at best, and the pacing can seem really slow at times. The plot is hardly that thick, but it is a character driven piece that still remains relevant.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is hardly The Searchers or High Noon, but overall it's an enjoyable flick. I'm tentative to call it a masterpiece as so many others have dubbed it, but it's worth a look. I'm sure on this Father's Day many sons will watch this film and remember their time watching this film with their dad's fondly. I know I will be dusting off my copy of Zulu for the same reasons.

Want to see your favorite film reviewed here? Send me an email or drop a comment.

"I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it." - Clint Eastwood

Jun 15, 2007

Go democracy.

After Sharon's historic removal of Israeli settlements from Gaza, know as the Disengagement Plan, Palestinians occupying the territory got to taste the sweet flavor of democracy. General elections took place and moderate government Fatah took position as leaders of the turbulent region. Recognizing Israel as a legitimate country the new government at least paid lip service to committing to the peace process.

As you can imagine their time in office was short. Voters were tired of appeasing the Jewish state and elected the militant Hamas to take over. Recently civil war has broken out between the two factions giving Hamas a sweeping and bloody victory leaving Fatah leaders fleeing the area. Because Hamas is.....ahh you don't give a good shit do you? You've probably stopped reading before the first paragraph ended. You just want to hear about Paris Hilton's prison meals and a hot girl singing some song about how's she all head over heels about Obama don't ya?

"Days will prove that the assassination policy will not finish the Hamas. Hamas leaders wish to be martyrs and are not scared of death. Jihad will continue and the resistance will continue until we have victory, or we will be martyrs." - Sheikh A. Yassin

Jun 14, 2007

Wiwille's movie reviews part 1.

Well I got my first submission for reviewing one of your favorite films. The good Miss Ash decided to submit not one, but four flicks. And guess what? They're actually good movies. Well most of them are.

Miss Ash chose Trainspotting, Goodfellas, The Joy Luck Club, and The Life of David Gale for me to opine about. Three of these films I absolutely love. Two I even own so I don't even have to bother renting to refresh my memory of the content. Then there's one that I hate.

Which one do I start with? Well I haven't seen The Joy Luck Club in years so I need to put it in my online queue and what more could be said about Goodfellas and Trainspotting? Do I go with the one I hate? Would Miss Ash take it personally as people are very passionate about the films that are close to the heart? Maybe so, but still I'll begin with the film I despise with my ever loving being.

There are many films dealing with the issue of capital punishment. Some are sensitive to both sides of the issue (Dead Man Walking) and others are more or less conflicted (In Cold Blood), but then there's The Life of David Gale which clearly believes it's against it.

While not a critical success (currently at 20% freshness on the Rotten Tomatoes meter) the public seems very warm to this film. Everyone I know who has seen this movie loves it and all give a disapproving glare when I mention that it's one of the most pretentious films ever. Some assume I'm for the death penalty, which is incorrect.

Kevin Spacey plays the title character as a brooding, morally bankrupt philosophy professor who is convicted of the murder of his best friend and fellow anti-capital punishment activist Constance Harraway (Laura Linney). Gale then befriends cynical reporter Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet) and sells the story to her claiming that there's a conspiracy to have him die. She follows the story and finds holes in the jury's conviction and attempts to bring the truth to our legal system in order to save David's life.

Of course there are the antagonists. One mysterious man dons a cowboy hat, drives a pickup, and lives in a dilapidated shed while constantly throwing Bloom's research into disarray. The screenwriters felt if you're going to depict a person that's for putting convicts to death you must portray them as simpleton rednecks for some reason. No one who lives a middle to upper class lifestyle could be so morally decadent as to be on the side of lethal injection. No they must be poor and speak in a mono-syllabic manner.

Moving past the ridiculous portrayal of either side of the issue the end really did it for me. I won't give it away as I feel you should watch this film and judge for yourself, but as you'll probably figure out halfway in the movie things may not be what they seem. Actually it's told to you in a line of dialogue so you understand that there will be a twist and since the plot is so thinly structured there leaves only one possibility for that "stunning" conclusion.

After sitting through what was a well acted and shot film, and getting the chance to stare at Kate Winslet, I felt it wasn't that bad given all of it's pretensions about an important issue such as the death penalty, but once the final reveal made itself apparent I felt robbed. It destroyed everything likable about David Gale, who seemed like a well intentioned; however flawed, activist to a cheap fraud bent on manipulating the system and the publics' emotions for the sake of his crusade. I almost became a capital punishment advocate if only I could kill the characters myself. Every single last rat bastard one of them would not die a merciful death. They would face a fate that would make Pol Pot cringe.

As I've seen this film before I considered renting it again to see if my opinion would change about the movie. Then I realised I couldn't sit through this cheap, ugly film that everyone seems to like.

"A snide, juvenile, plot-twisting story about capital punishment that should provoke activists truly concerned about the death penalty to rage, and guilty-pleasure seekers to lament that the movie fails even as decent trash." - Wesley Morris

The Life of David Gale

Jun 13, 2007

Wiwille's movie reviews.

I'm a huge fan of movies and I also feel my opinion on them really matter. Why I don't know. Since my aesthetic values are finely tuned and I'm an arrogant ass I decided I would bring to you dear readers my own review of one of your favorite films. Simply leave a comment or drop me an email with your favorite movie and I'll put it in my online rental queue. After viewing the film I'll write a review of it here. I may even link the post on the right.

Rules:

1) Movies cannot be complete donkey shit. Films such as "Leprechaun 2", "Dracula Dead and Loving It", and/or "Beverly Hills Cop Part 3" will not be viewed by me.
2) No porn. The company I rent with doesn't carry X rated material nor do I feel I really need more pornography in my life. Plus I know one of you would be evil enough to try and make me watch "Geriatric Park".
3) Movies must be available for rental. Bootleg stuff such as "The Star Wars Holiday Special" is out.
4) For those who wish to remain anonymous, or just don't want to let everyone know you're a big fan of "Hudson Hawk", please drop me an email and state clearly that you don't want to be mentioned in the review. If you pull something dumb like put your name in the comment field and say you wish to remain incognito well I'll just have to make fun of you. You don't want that.
5) Movies that are already listed in the 'Bad Movies I Love' or 'Overrated Films' section are not eligible. See sidebar for details.

Yes you can help decide the content in Erik's Ramblings. Looking forward to seeing your movies, well that is if anyone is interested in this.

"Queen of the Damned, that film we can dismiss." - Anne Rice

Jun 12, 2007

I can clean.

I've been drinking a lot of water lately in an attempt to stay hydrated. Consequently I pee a lot. Not that urinating is such a bad thing, but it's time out of my day to stand in the work restroom and listen to men make foul noises in their stalls.

Guys have you ever stood at a toilet and saw the stain around the top of the water line only to then suddenly think your penis was a pressure washer and you tried to clean the filthy ring with the power of your pee? No you say? Liar.

Girls are so missing out.

"The foolish are like ripples on water, For whatsoever they do is quickly effaced; But the righteous are like carvings upon stone, For their smallest act is durable." - Horace

Jun 11, 2007

Cried out in terror.

You don't have to be an HBO subscriber to know that the series finale of The Sopranos aired last night. If you didn't see the episode and you would like to I suggest you stop reading now.

A few people were over last night watching the finale. A rather lame episode as was this entire season, but the finale didn't end as I or anyone expected. The last five minutes had brilliant pacing set up by the director as Tony is sitting at a diner awaiting his family's arrival. Each walk in with along while another minor character, who the audience guesses is important. The viewers watched their clocks as well as the characters sitting around the diner asking themselves important questions such as who will be the one to cause the series last image of violence and who will the vicitm(s) and perpetrator(s) be.

Then Meadow walks in after having much difficulty parking her vehicle. The screen turns black. All of us in the living room froze then responded with a collective "what the hell?" We were thinking maybe the cable signal went tits up or the television just decided to quit working. Neither was the case as the credits rolled to silence. To borrow a line from Obi-Wan, it was as if a million voices cried out in terror then were suddenly silenced. I imagine the cable company received numerous phone calls from people screaming about their cable box breaking only to be hung up on when the subscriber realized their mistake.

The Andy Kaufmanesque ending made many a fan's blood boil as well as put a smile on apologists of the show. Much debate will ensue over the writing decision to end this series and I'm sure they'll feel justified in their critique, but really they'll sound like aging Star Wars fans bitching about the prequels. It was a decent show, but after season three I was disappointed in it's quality. Smarter than thou David Chase fans will argue that most of you who were upset by the show's ending don't 'get it', but I got it and you know what it was hardly the stuff of brilliance. By simply passing off critiques as juvenile blood thirsty fans displays your intellectual arrogance over a freakin television show. Claiming you're aesthetic tastes are superior in the realm of television is sort of like believing that you follow the correct version of your particular faith. Either way you're still following fiction that is meant to appeal to the ignorant masses.

“None of us on the show, ... ever thought it would do anything.” - David Chase

Jun 8, 2007

Sign me up.

Longtime readers of Erik's Ramblings understand that Scarlett is not my only Hollywood obsession. Ever since I was a wee lad I've had my eye on marrying Alyssa Milano, which sadly has never come to pass. Yes the former Who's the Boss star caught my attention at the tender age of eight and I've watched many a bad film and television show simply because her beauty graced the screen.

Now the Charmed star has released a new clothing line and some of it is baseball related. To promote the designs a sweepstakes has been created to win a a chance to meet her at a LA Dodgers game.

Now you should understand that there is no one more deserving of this prize than me. Even though I'm not a fan of watching pampered rich athletes play a slow sport I'll bite the bullet just to be able to shake her hand. Hell I'd watch Full House if she was present. That's saying a lot.

Bonus: On the sweepstakes website she's wearing camouflage pants. For some reason girls in camou really do it for me.

"I used to sleep nude - until the earthquake." - Alyssa Milano

Touch Ultimate Fan Sweepstakes

Jun 7, 2007

Reasonable expectation of privacy.

A while back I was discussing with a friend issues that come up between couples. First off we tackled the idea of significant others hanging out with members of the opposite sex. I told him I had no problems with the Pretty Girl being friends with a guy as I trust her to make good choices. He disagreed stating that he'll never let his girlfriend befriend someone who has a penis arguing that it's a surefire way to trouble.

While we debated the pros and cons of this issue he laid a wrecking ball stating that he would install spyware software on his computer to keep track of his future wife's online activities. After asking him why he pointed out that it was in his best interests to make sure his spouse wasn't cheating on him. Homey has some trust issues.

I pity him for I wonder if he'll truly be happy. Could someone that insecure really find joy in a relationship? Would he spend most of the time worrying that his significant other is calling in sick to work and banging the neighbor at the nearest sleazy hotel?

I won't give up my friendships with my female friends so that alone would never make me ask someone (Scarlett?) to ditch their male buddies. I tried to convince my friend that infidelity didn't worry me, cause I'm a dynamo in the sack and no girl would think of ever straying. He didn't buy that either.

"Do you suspect that your spouse is cheating? Who does YOUR spouse talk to online? Do they email an offline lover? Do they perform cybersex with a webcam and microphone? Does your spouse waste money at casino web sites?" - all-spy.com

Jun 6, 2007

The kind of hard hitting commentary you would expect.

Already I'm sick of the Presidential campaign. Besides finding it annoying that politicians are ignoring their day jobs in order to possibly obtain a promotion I can't get behind any of the candidates from either party. All seem terribly uninteresting, polarizing, and/or incompetent one trick ponies.

What is interesting is the media coverage of this fiasco. Not even a candidate, yet, Fred Thompson has received a ton of press and he hasn't even officially announced himself to be a contender. Media outlets are frothing at the mouth at the celebrity of Thompson, cause after all he was in 'The Hunt for Red October'. More importantly the man has a suedo hot wife.

Having an appealing spouse is important for anyone seeking the presidency. Look at how our public worshipped at the altar of Jackie-O. Hell you don't have to be likable (Nancy Reagan), but as long as you can capture public interest it works for a candidate. Fred Thompson's second wife is considerably hotter than him which may attract voters who are in love with celebrity culture.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough is now fancying himself to be a shock jock as he asked a caller on his radio show if they thought Thompson's wife, Jeri, 'works the pole'. Now this wouldn't be surprising if this came from Stern or Opie and Anthony, but the fact that Joe says it makes it a) unfunny and b) sound like a sad attempt for him to attract listeners by making himself a caricature of Don Imus. I never liked Scarborough Country as the show can't decide whether it's a political analysis or entertainment news and the host is pretty dull.

Still I don't understand why it's surprising that an old Hollywood actor married someone 25 years his junior.

"Every foreign policy of every major nation involves reason, common sense, carrots and sticks. You can't have all carrots and no sticks." - Fred Thompson

Jun 5, 2007

Packed with peanuts you really don't satisfy.

In a recent UK study of the blindingly obvious researchers have determined what we already know, women prefer chocolate to sex. A poll by Cadbury, makers of fine chocolate Easter eggs with strange textured sugar filling, has noted that over 50% of women would rather dine on sugary goodness than be violated by a man's genitalia.

I'm not sure why women can't just do both. There's a reason why I carry a Nestle bar with me wherever I go, cause if a girl is disappointed about my performance, which is likely, they can simply snack during our 30 second rendezvous. It's a win-win situation.

If I ever get married I'll just keep a chocolate fondue flowing on a night stand, cause I'm a giver.

"You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar." - George Carlin

Why Most Women Prefer Chocolate To Sex

Jun 4, 2007

Bad movies I love part 21

Everyone who went to high school has a story of one guy who attended who was less of a bully and more like a psychopath. The dude everyone was afraid of, cause you weren't sure if he was carrying a weapon every where he went. People tipped toed around the crazy man as he walked down the halls displaying a demeanor that told you he goes to the dump and shoots rats on weekends.

Three O'Clock High is about that nut. Why this film is not regarded as one of the classic 80s comedies is something I'll never understand. All around nerd Jerry Mitchell (Casey Siemaszko) has the unfortunate task of interviewing the new student for his school paper. Jerry makes the mistake of actually placing his hand on his interview subject Buddy Revell, played brilliantly by Richard Tyson. Buddy, who looks way too old to be in high school, challenges the dorky student reporter to a fight at 3 o'clock.

The film then follows Jerry throughout the day as he tries in vain to get out of the fight. Fearing his demise Mitchell breaks into the student store and steals money to pay a football player to take care of Buddy, which ends poorly. He also tries to escape school, but the security guard won't let him leave the grounds. Other antics ensue as Jerry attempts to get out of the fight, but as with most 80s comedy dorks he mans up and faces his tormentor with crowd pleasing results.

Sure the plot is predictable and some of the actors look way to old to be in high school, but it's a charming tale that unlike most teen films of that era doesn't ridicule youth. This film is far funnier than most of those teeny bopper flicks of the 80s and doesn't resort to becoming a pretentious over dramatic love fest.

What this movie did need is more crane kicking. Maybe that would secure it's place in the 80s hall of fame.

"Schools are successful only insofar as they reduce the dependence of a child's opportunities upon his social origins." - James S. Coleman

Jun 1, 2007

Global warming may be the least of our worries.

If you can steer your brain away from the Paris Hilton jail drama you may have noticed something that might capture your attention from the whore heiress. Upset by US deployments of a missile defense system, which violates a previous treaty, Russia has increased their nuclear arsenal to include weapons designed specifically to thwart any 'Star Wars' lite shields. Yes folks the arms race is back.

I was getting bored with all this terrorism and guerrilla warfare anyways. If Russia ever decides to launch I hope they hit Florida first. I'm sure Putin is smarter than that and he'll leave the dysfunctional state as the only one standing. The tyrannical Russian president will then give it to Castro to do with as he pleases. All the geriatrics will then finally leave the Old Country Buffet and take arms in revolt. It'll be an old person revolution and I for one welcome it.

Sure there's all that worry about the destruction of mankind and all, but think of all the greatness the cold war has brought us. Without the Soviets would we have ever witnessed the cinematic masterpiece that is Red Dawn?

Oh and sleep tight folks.

"If you live through the initial stage of fame and get past it, and remember that's not who you are. If you live past that, then you have a hope of maybe learning how to spell the word artist." -Patrick Swayze



Russia: Cold War arms race is starting again