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Friday, February 06, 2004
Review of Barbershop 2: Back in Business is up now. I give it three fades and a flattop!
Thursday, February 05, 2004
Juniper Suicide hotline
I know you're probably coming here for Movies this Week, but I've gotta share this before I forget.
I'm sitting here minding my own business when somebody from one of my credit card companies Juniper (low interest rates, weird phone calls!) calls me at my work number and tells me they want to send me a $25 gas card for being such a kick-ass customer who take care a'his bidness.
So the lady, with a really, really thick southern accent, asks me if I'd be interested in signing up for their credit card protection. I tell her that I probably wouldn't sign up. She asks me why. I tell her that I don't need it. She asks why I don't need it. I tell her that I already have insurance through work in case something bad happens and I can't make my payment. The following has not been embellished for comedic effect at all:
Juniper Credit Card Lady: Well, does your work insurance cover suicide?
Omar: (stunned silence)... I'm... not ... really planning on committing suicide anytime soon.
Juniper Credit Card Lady: What about your family?
Omar: (even more stunned silence) I don't think they're planning on committing suicide either.
Juniper Credit Card Lady: All right then, you have a pleasant evening.
Omar: You... I... you too then.
All my co-workers overheard my end of the conversation and I had to explain what happened. Wow, Juniper. You guys are hardcore.
Movies this week
Why do all the hip hop songs now sound like one of the Chipmunks is singing background vocals?
Barbershop 2: Back in Business: I saw this Tuesday night and it's really good. About as good or slightly better than the first one. It's certainly slicker and doesn't look like it was shot in about a weekend like Barbershop. (I hadn't seen that one until last weekend. You can hook yourself up with it for $8.99 at Circuit City.) I've got a review of it running in tomorrow's paper, so I'll link to it here when it's up. All I gotta say apart from that is that after watching Cedric the Entertainer steal this movie, the original Barbershop and the scenes he got in Intolerable Cruelty, I think I'm ready to see a Cedric-starring movie. His sketch TV show wasn't too bad either. (Repetitive as all get out, but not awful.) The only annoying thing about this movie is that they're giving away one of the best jokes in the movie (and the film's very last scene) with the commercials where Eddie's asking everyone if he's allowed to make fun of Luthor Vandross. Skip the commercials, go see the movie. The only disappointing thing about the film is the title. "Back in Business." They couldn't come up with something funnier? Like "Still Fadin' " or "Electric Clipperoo" or "The Best Little Trimhouse in Chicago."
Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer: In case you want to compare notes with Charlize Theron's performance in Monster, you've got this documentary, which is said to be a step up from Nick Broomfield's previous controversial documentaries about Kurt Cobain and Biggie 'n Tupac. How was this guy to know 10 years ago that the name Aileen Wuornos would become synonymous with "Charlize Theron?" I'm not against depressing movies, but depressing documentaries take depressing movies to a whole other level and lately things have been stressful enough without me having to ponder the intricacies of a warped killer's mind. Unless that killer is O.J. Then I have plenty of time to spare for that.
Bus 174: This is another documentary, one about a bus hijacking in Rio de Janeiro. You can't imagine that things like that happen in Rio, where the worst thing you can imagine happening to you as a tourist is that you'll sit on a jellyfish or get a rash from freakin' with somebody at a disco, but apparently the economic situation there is pretty bad for its citizens and the film makes the case that that's what drove some poor nutty kid to take a bus full of people hostage without the benefit of Keanu Reeves to come bail his ass out of there. One of these days I'm going to spend a whole day catching up on these socially relevant films, but that day probably won't come this weekend.
Catch That Kid: This is a film that screams to have an exclamation point in its title. "Catch That Kid!" It also looks like Spy Kids minus the cool gadgetry and gonzo direction. So a bunch of kids get together to rob a bank to pay for a parent's surgery, right? Sure, kid... that's what all the little bank robbers say.
Miracle: Down here in the south, hockey ranks in popularity somewhere down below ballet, but slightly above gay puppet theater. We just don't understand snow, ice, or skating around in either. The only reason I can think of to see this movie is that Kurt Russell has a thick midwestern accent and even thicker wig that he wears to amusing effect in the film's over-the-top trailer. Patricia Clarkson is in the film, too, and you want to ask her if she got lost on the studio lot on the way to some other, better film. Go see the film for Russell, but stay for the "USA! USA!" chants.
DVDs: Saw Barbershop and Intolerable Cruelty which was really not that great. Still, if you must see Catherine Zeta-Jones in about 50 different outfits, that's the movie to watch. I just got Thirteen from Netflix, so I'll try to watch that, as well as American Splendor, which I went out and bought because it was my favorite damn movie last year. Maybe I'll invite some folks over and make it a Movie Nite.
I drank some hate-orade
L'il Floaty Disembodied Omar Head goes on a rant about the thing. You know. The thingee.
This one had been building up.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Falling behind and you: A primer
Exerpted from "Running to Fail: Strategies for the Middle," Knopf, 1996:
The commonly held American perception that falling behind is a bad thing is one that has become ingrained through our culture, our entertainment and, from an early age, our education.
This disregards the genius of those who were largely considered failures in their time: Albert Einstein, Beethoven, and others whom deadlines for this book prevented the research and inclusion of.
What we must understand -- the 99.999 percent of us who will neither fail nor succeed wildly, but who will man the fort of "Everybody Else" -- is that there's also a heirarchy in mediocrity. There are degrees within the community of the unwashed. Will you be fully unwashed, or merely smudged about the nose?
If you find yourself in this situation, on a boat with others like yourself who are ambitious, but not gifted; talented, but unfocused; good-looking, but not gorgeous; smart, but unmotivated; energetic but clumsy -- you can still control your destiny and more importantly those around you by recognizing who's in your lot and learning to be better than them.
Simply put and in more common language, remember: It's better to rise above the dipshits than to the fall trampled behind the superstars.
Monday, February 02, 2004
A recap and the transforming power of film
A recap of the "Delete" episode of Smallville is up. Here's the description:
Strong, Bad Email -- A computer genius (who also happens to be a comely young lady) creates an email that can control people's minds and send them on homicidal missions. Before you can say "The Manchurian High School Student," several people have tried killing Chloe, including Clark and Lana.
I was in a bad mood all day. A really bad mood. People were already talking about Janet Jackson when I got to work and I had to hear that shit all day until I left. There's not really a good English equivelant for yelling in Spanish, "YA!" when you've had enough of something.
Then I went to see The Triplets of Belleville tonight and it was absolutely wonderful. The movie completely changed my mood and made me feel fantastic. I'll write about it more on Thursday, but sometimes it just takes something really magical and good to snap you out of your little hissyfits and daily annoyances. I hope all of you get a chance to see this movie.
It's worse than I thought. Expect a flurry, a full media blitz of Janet Jackson-related boob stories on TV and in newspapers tomorrow.
This boob is huge!
It's a boob
That's it. One boob. Just a boob. Some of us have even seen two of them.
I'm not mad at the boob, I'm mad at the outraged reaction to the boob and the fact that I'm part of the industry that is making the boob into a National Debate.
I'm annoyed that everybody's up in arms about a boob, but nobody cares that so many of the Super Bowl ads were 10 times worse in terms of taste or that CBS itself was peddling C.S.I., a show that regularly features rape, dismemberment and liquified corpses, which nobody thinks is at all inappropriate for a football broadcast.
But a boob? A live, unplanned boob? Aw, HELL NO! We can't have that.
It's just a boob. Grow the fuck up, people.
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