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Friday, November 14, 2003
Roger Ebert is dying
At least I think he is. How else to explain that he's giving every movie that comes out a fantastic review, even crap like Matrix Revolutions and the afore-excreted-upon Looney Tunes: Back in Craption. (The exception was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which he called brutal and gave zero stars. He was expecting tea parties and teddy bears with that title?)
Ebert has decided to make up for all his mean reviews of the past with across-the-board hosannas for any movie you stick in front of him before his imminent demise. Joe Eszterhas and Joel Schumacher -- now's your chance! Quick! Get a movie out there!
Hair on the campaign trail
This may be be my favorite newspaper story all year. And I don't even know what a chignon is. In Spanish, "chingon" means something, though.
Goddamned Looney Tunes
I don't know what some of those critics out there who are hedging their bets and calling this film decent family entertainment are thinking. My review is up, and I'm not exaggerating in it. When I walked out of this movie, Korey, Martin, Rebecca, Jeff, John and I all looked at each other like we'd been through a war together. We look back on it now like a gruesome tour of duty, surprised we all made it out alive.
Well, not all of us did. They got Johnny.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Movies this week...
Confusion of Genders, Flower of Evil and Girls Will Be Girls: We have a lot of movies to cover this week, so I'm going to combine these three indie ones because chances are you've never heard of them (there are always very good reasons when that happens). Near as I can tell Confusion is an "urbane French comedy" which means you're going to think it should be stabbed in the eyes with fondue spoons. Lots of people have sex, which I guess is cool, but they're people you'd never ever want to meet in a million years, even if you were the last urbane French person on Earth. I have nothing against the French; it's films of theirs like this that I hate. Flower of Evil is also French and has lots more talking and lots less sex. There's also a dead body in there that I imagine neither talks nor has sex. That's what I imagine. You never know with those French films. Girls Will Be Girls is a full-on drag movie with dudes playing very mean, vain and unlikable women. Misogynistic? Oh yes, girlfriend!
The Human Stain: This one's tough because it's already gotten slammed for not living up to the Philip Roth book, which is about a professor (played in the movie by Anthony Hopkins) who is accused of racism, which is all ironical because he's secretly hiding his light-skinned African-American ethnicity. Yes, Anthony Hopkins. And Nicole Kidman plays a cleaning woman he has a torrid affair with. I haven't seen it, so I'm not gonna go all Gigli on it, but it does sound really miscast, one of those instances where the filmmakers figured the talent and starpower would overcome the inherent wrongness of what they were trying to do. The idea for the film sounds interesting enough, but it also feels like an end-of-the-year snoozer where you go get popcorn and there's a long line and you come back 15 minutes later and you haven't missed a goddamned thing.
The Legend of Johnny Lingo: This is a sweet children's film from New Zealand, so it feels absolutely wrong to bag on it, so I'll just say that I think the title is very cool. It sounds like a skit on The Electric Company.
Looney Tunes: Back in Action: My review runs tomorrow. It's getting one star. It gave me a splitting headache.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World: I'm told that chunky title exists because it combines two of Patrick O'Brian's novels (and has lots of back-story from earlier books) of his 20-volume series. When you say something is in 20 volumes, you're automatically intimidating me. But apparently, he's widely read among landlubbers and seafans alike. I just can't get past "Starboard bow" and "port." That shit makes no sense to me. But, about the movie. Russell Crowe was in town last night to screen the movie with Gov. Rick Perry (they're buddies; our governor went to his wedding), but press wasn't invited. Our critic seemed to like it, though, and truth be told, I'm not averse to it. Unless there are pirates (Arrrr!) I tend not to like movies set at sea. They make me sleepy. I dozed right through A Perfect Storm. But the trailer for this movie was so goddamned entertaining, it made me want to see a movie I ordinarily would roundly ignore. That's a good trailer. Russell Crowe continues to be the world's alpha male, making even burly men in prison cry with self doubt.
Once Upon a Time in the Midlands: I used to really like those cute Great Britain exports like Waking Ned Devine and Billy Elliot until I realized they're all the same fucking movie. Oh, check out me gruff 'Da who'd never want me to wear ballet tights. Me ex-wife's embarrassed that I'd want to strip on stage. There's a dead old man in the trunk! Everybody raise a pint! Fuck all that shit.
Tupac: Resurrection: My brother really likes 'Pac, so it feels wrong to poop on this film, which is said to be the most definitive bio on the rapper, who is still releasing tracks like seven years after he got popped. He's the hip-hop Elvis. People are still going to be making money off this guy 20 years from now. Y'all better recanize.
DVDs: I got Bruce Almighty in the mail and my brother tells me I should sooner die than sit through that crap. So we'll see. I still have some Netflix DVDs lying around (including the neglected Bend it Like Beckham and Frida), but I finally got to see Catch Me If You Can, which was a lot more melancholy than I expected. It was maybe the best Christopher Walken role I've seen. He was fantastic. Also got a Neflix of T3, which I have yet to see. I'm also considering sending off for the new Aqua Teen Hunger Force set because it has an episode with David Cross on the second disc that is one of my absolute favorite animated pieces of entertainment ever.
Omar should really try to write during the day
Remember the DVD thing I said I got up in the middle of the night and wrote with my eyes closed? Here it is. Looking back, I wonder if perhaps it would have been better written at 3 p.m. instead.
While you're there, read Jeff's entry, too. That boy watches even more TV that I do.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
At least I'm not "TheHappyFaggot"
I got a nice e-mail from the good people at Microsoft (motto: "We'll buy your friendship!") telling me that my Xbox Live subscription is about to expire. They offered to pick it up for me which is great because I was planning on just paying for that myself. Make no mistake: if you like playing games online and not just on a PC, Xbox Live is the way to go. It is, as the kids say these days, "The Shin Splitz."
The great thing about having three console companies duking it out (the duking does continue) is that it's like having three cool friends competing for your affections. Of them is like, "Dude, come to my house, I got the free beer, bitch." (That's Sony. Sony likes to call you a bitch.) And then Nintendo calls you, all, "Beer? Muthafucka, I got a full BAR at my house. Come over. We'll watch T3." And then Microsoft calls you from its cell phone, driving down the 101 in a Ferrari going, "Full bar? Shit, I got free girls!" So you have options.
Everybody thought the GameCube was on the way out. They even shut down production of the GameCube, but then they dropped their price to $99 and people realized, "Hey, these guys have beer-flavored girls!" and now production had to get started back up to fulfill demand. Don't count the N-Dogg out.
So the Microsoft lady asked me what my Gamertag was and I had to sheepishly tell her, "TerriblyHappy" and it reminded me of the thing I wrote about Gamertags, which I couldn't find with google. Is there anything more embarassing than not being able to find something you know you wrote on your owns site? Sigh...
Well, that didn't last long
I'm in trouble for staying up too late and being all tired and draggy at work.
My advice to everyone: Don't make promises about keeping your nose clean and straigtening up and flying right on a Web site.
I went to the gym last night, made myself some pasta (mmmm green pasta, spinach linquini; i'm attracted to the texture and color. Red sauce and meat, gray mushrooms, sauteed mushrooms, white-yellow shredded parmesan), stayed up late watching Gilmore Girls, Crank Yankers and finally, finally doing some work on the novel. I was so excited to get back to work on it, even though it took an hour and a half of, "All right, I'm starting. I'm getting started! Right now! Right... hey, what's up on Homestar Runner?"
I distract easily.
But I wrote a few pages and I was very happy until I realized it was 2 a.m. and then I couldn't sleep because I was wound up with excitement, and hey, if you're up this late, why not get some laundry done, and oh, damn, the cat peed on the plastic again (one cat seems cured, the other has taken up the futon-peeing torch. I put a shower curtain on the couch that I keep there when I can't keep an eye on the futon. A vet visit is forthcoming), and now it's 3 a.m. and I really can't sleep so...
Wake, coffee, cat pee, drive to work with the radio loud, eyes hazy staring at the screen, PC Gamer magazine blurring my eyes even more (game magazines make my optics go all crazy. When I've read PC Gamer, I feel as if I just had a long eye exam).
And then here I am, behind a bit, thinking about the Looney Tunes movie again:
My boss: So, have you read the Looney Tunes review yet?
Omar: I... uh... yeah. I wrote it.
My Boss: So I guess you read it then?
Lunch is forthcoming: Leftover pasta. I like the green linguini.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
I love trouble
You don't really think you're going to have an epiphany at 4:48 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon when the highlight of your day was writing a crappy movie review and eating some taco meat topped with melted cheese and crushed tortilla chips. (It's called "Taco Leftover Salad Crisp," and the recipe is all yours.) Not when you're sitting there, eyes glazed, sipping flat Diet Dr. Pepper from a plastic Happy Birthday cup from two years ago.
But epiphany I had (er, did have?), sitting right here. I figured it all out, worked it though, threaded the mental thread through the equally figurative eye of the needle.
What I came up with was this: I like trouble.
Trouble excites me. Trouble is the boss of me. When a Trouble comes along, I must kiss it. Every bad decision I've ever made in my life has been a failure to resist trouble. And when I say "Trouble," I mean anything that can, will, or does get me into any kind of trouble. A smart-ass remark in the principal's office, a forum flame war, a girl with the word "Trouble" knitted into her undergarments. Trouble. Sound of me scratching the desk, unable to resist, then getting into it: Trouble.
That's my problem, right there. That's the key. If I can resist trouble for the rest of my life (Shut up, you, I can do this), I'll be on my way to the straight-and-narrow, the do-right valley, the glory glory B. train to Righteoustown.
Because, really, where does trouble get you? Trouble, if you ask me, is just a bunch of trouble. Trouble's never gonna grow up to be any damn good and trouble's just going to break your heart.
So, trouble? Stop knocking at my door. Quit passing me mash notes. Erase me from your cell's addressbook and take me off your notify.
I'm going to be trouble free. Starting right.... (checks watch)... NOW!
Monday, November 10, 2003
Crap to the Future
A new recap of Smallville is up of the craptastic "1961" episode. Oh, the early 1960s. How I don't remember them at all.
The ass cancer
Remember Ass Cancer?
It's being defined.
I sometimes go a week or two at a time without visiting my brother's journal, but then I'll go there and catch up and laugh and laugh like I've been given the goofy gas. He's gotten to be an awfully funny writer and since we don't get to talk much except online, it's nice that we can catch up on each others lives like this.
Sometimes he'll post one of our chats and I won't even see it until much later. I have to remember not to mention all my awful secrets over IM.
We're working on a comic strip together. It's slow going because I write fast, but PJ draws slow. I'll give you a taste, though: It involves monkeys. And to my experience, nothing involving monkeys is ever not good.
And then it was Monday
The weekend was a strange mismash of activities that seemed to belong to about three different lives.
The domestic life Omar bought some curtains, swapped out lightbulbs and gave serious thought to a new couch. It also continued giving one of the cats antibiotics in hopes that the peeing problem will soon be a distant, awful (but not in the least bit amusing, even given time) problem.
The social life Omar went to a paella cook-off on Saturday: Seven huge pits of paella served up in the cold to waiting throngs. (It was in someone's back-yard: You can imagine the logistics). Then there were martinis at the aptly named Apple Bar. There was lots of TV watching and a movie. I implore all of you, before any more damage is done, to avoid with all your might the new Looney Toons movie. It's awful. I mean soul-curdingly bad. It was possibly the worst moviegoing experience of my life and not just because of the huge guy in the tiny muscle shirt with the three kids yelling in response to every joke (and encouraging his wicked children to do the same). It was a bad, bad movie. As my friend Martin said to the Warner Bros. representative after the film, "It's like they raped my childhood." Indeed.
Busy work Omar only had time to work on a Smallville recap, but strangely woke up at 5 in the morning Friday night and cranked out an essay about DVD extras. Have you ever woken up and written something because you knew if you waited till morning, the wording would be all different? So there I was, eyes mostly closed, writing about DVDs in my skivvies. Luckily, the computer was already on or I might have fallen asleep during the bootup. I'm not sure if that's for the XL Blog or what, but we'll see.
Now it's Monday. And even more weirdly, I'm having a good morning.
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