Monday, June 30, 2008

Wall•E World

I know my thoughts can get lengthy, so I will spare you all my normal preamble and get straight to the point: go see Wall•E. It’s a great movie made by great people, who I can only assume are going to make a great deal of money off of this talking robot (maybe even enough to buy a gold-plated Johnny #5), and rightfully so. Sometimes, my entertainer-sense kicks in and I can tell that a movie is going to be good long before I see it. Wall•E was one of those movies (Pixar’s history of awesomeness doesn’t hurt, either). But even with high expectations going into it, Wall•E still blew me away. The visuals are spectacular on a level that only Pixar seems able to achieve, the story is as beautiful as Romeo & Juliet, and the plot keeps you interested for the entire 90-ish minutes — all this with only a few pages of dialogue in the whole movie (a real “F you” to anyone who’s ever whined about acting, writing or directing a non-dialogue movie…myself included).

-America’s Next Top…Friend-
So I was making one of my 472 daily visits to facebook the other day, and I noticed that the “Top Friends” application on my profile page was gone. Now, a little while back I pretty much banned all facebook applications because most of them are poorly made, ugly, or both (I don’t want to be a vampire, ninja, werewolf, pirate, zombie, Jedi, or Jet Fighter; I don’t want to join your mob; Bumper Stickers hasn’t ever worked for more than 14 seconds in a row; and I appreciate you giving me a title of nobility in your court, but I’m going to have to decline, Baron Jackass). The only exceptions to this rule are the Top Friends app (because nothing builds friendships like ranking people as if they were college football teams) and the NES Retro Gaming app (because seriously, it’s so awesome — it’s like having a Nintendo for your computer. Amazing). But like I said to kick off this paragraph, this Top Friends app mysteriously disappeared from my life today, so I was forced to find another Top Friends app to replace it. This in and of itself was a pain in the ass, but it also unearthed another problem: I need a new ninth-best friend. Don’t ask me why, but I like having the symmetry of three rows of three friends right underneath my main picture — and I recently decided to boot my previous ninth-best friend off the list, so this leaves one spot up for grabs. I should also mention that the ninth-best spot is typically reserved for a girlfriend or something along those lines, but since I’m single right now, that means it’s really up for grabs by anyone. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Dustin, how can I snag the coveted ninth-best spot on such a revered and elite list of people?” The answer is that frankly, I don’t know. I can’t say exactly what it will take to secure your spot at the bottom of my top friends, all I can say is that it when I see it, I will know. Until then, I just encourage all of you to try your best and be creative — and keep in mind that even if you don’t make it into the top 1% of my friends, that you still are my friend…and that’s winning in and of itself.

-LA Film Festival…AKA: the Best Fest in the West, No Jest-
I was fortunate enough to get into a couple screenings at the LA Film Fest last week, and in a word it was: festive. When you’re surrounded by as many struggling actors/writers/directors/producers as I am, it’s easy to lose track of the good and positive things that happen within — and as a result of — this industry. It’s so uplifting to see moviemakers who aren’t obsessed with the money and fame of the movie industry, but rather just truly care about making a good film. It’s weird for me to remember that movies didn’t start as superstar-laden cash cows whose sole purpose was to line the pockets of studio execs, they started art. Sure, some of the LAFF’s contributors are pretty well-off, financially, and a lot of the people who had films screened at the fest will make a lot of money…but it still felt like I was closer to the original passion that spurred the first film-artists into making a “moving picture,” then lovingly winding their film through a projector so they could share their passion and joy (and their accomplishment) with their friends. And that’s a cool feeling.

-Are You Having a Laugh?-
I’ve always thought that the British —though superior at making teas and other flavorless foods — were awful comedians. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s funny to laugh at them when they do stereotypically buffoonish things, but that really doesn’t count because it’s not intentional on their part. But the thing is, I’ve never been able to figure out why the British are so unfunny. The answer to this question has eluded me endlessly…until just recently. But lucky for you, I finally figured it out, and here’s my theory: Stephen Merchant (Gervais’ longtime friend and constant entertainment partner) is an alien. I’m not having a go at him when I say that, I really mean it.If you haven’t seen what he looks like, go google a picture of him, because this is what you’ll get: Stephen Merchant is about 11 feet tall, 135lbs, pale as the moon, and wears glasses to help mask his all-seeing alien eyes. Many moons ago, Stephen Merchant came to earth in his spaceship, and went from country to country having a laugh with all the people of the world. But when he got to England, he saw that the people there weren’t nearly as funny as the rest of the world. Rather than let the British people go without the laughter the rest of the world was already experiencing, Stephen Merchant used his superior alien technology to transfer all the humour and comedy of every British citizen into one man. And that man was Ricky Gervais. So now, despite not having the ability to be funny on their own, the British citizens would at least have the gift of true laughter and comedy delivered to them from the British Santa Claus of comedy, Ricky Gervais. The BBC version of The Office has long been hailed as comedic gold around the world, Ricky’s show Extras is the most underrated comedy of our generation, and Gervais’ stand-up comedy tours are definitely worth youtubing if you’re interested in giving your abs a good workout. Watch it, and tell them Dustin sent you.

Ok gang, time for me to go do some in-person real-life, one-on-one, face-to-face blogging with some friends (also known as conversations). I’ll let you know how it goes.


Stephen Merchant: Proof that there is intelligent life outside of earth...and that it understands sight gags.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bros Before Prose

Hey! It’s been a busy weekend, Get Smart wasn’t that great (although it wasn’t too bad, either) and I’ve yet to see Love Guru (and I’m not sure if I will just based on what I’ve heard so far…I might just save my time and money for Wanted/Wall*E this weekend). More importantly than any of that, I was doing some grocery shopping today at my local Albertson’s, and they had BANANA NUT CRUNCH!! If you are out of the loop with my eating habits, Banana Nut Crunch is like my fave cereal ever, and they didn’t have it at the grocery store by my old house. Seeing those boxes of BNC stacked in the aisles of Albertsons was like getting my Christmas presents six months early…if my Christmas presents were a bunch crappy boxes of mass-produced cereal, that is. I haven’t really been eating breakfast since my freshman year of college, but maybe BNC can get me back on the wagon (or off the wagon, whichever means what I’m trying to say).

-LA Loses Two Great Men…For Very Different Reasons-
I’m pretty sure Rob Robol is too busy to read this blog, and I know George Carlin didn’t, but both were LA residents that are no longer with us — Rob is a good friend of mine who is moving back to Ohio, and George Carlin is the famous comedian who sadly passed away a little earlier this week. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Rob for many years, and hope he knows that we will miss him out here. I’ve only met George Carlin a couple of times (he came to the restaurant for his birthday recently, among other visits), but he was very gregarious and friendly and full of life — even remembered my name. His loss is truly a palpable one, and — love him or hate him — his impact on comedy was massive. Rest in peace.

-Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Crappiness-
I had Chiptole for lunch today, and several In N’ Out Burgers for dinner…it was a bad day for the toilet-paper holder to break, is all I’m saying.

Ok, the rest of this blog will be in silence to memorialize Misters Carlin and Robol, full blog(s) later on this week.

God bless,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It’s a Good Week for Green Puns

The rebirth of the Hulk movie franchise has been a wild success, the Boston Celtics have won their first NBA championship in a couple of decades, there’s plenty of potatoes in Ireland, hybrid cars are finally catching on, and somewhere, Seth Green is getting paid to play with dolls for his crappy stop-motion TV show. Basically, if you’re green, you’ve got it pretty good right now. In an effort to join in on the recent success of all things green, I’ve worn my green polo shirt to work for 17 days straight without washing it. Unfortunately, all that tactic has gotten me so far is demoted to a job as a landscaper, working with guys who don’t have their green card. Yikes.

-You Wouldn’t Like Him When He’s Eric Bana-
Since the first day production was announced on this new Hulk film reboot, the public has openly wondered why Marvel would remake a movie that was so awful the first time it came out. The answer is that now — five years removed from the original big screen, live-action Hulk modernization — Marvel finally knows how to make a movie that doesn’t suck. The X-Men franchise stopped being good about halfway through the second film of the trilogy, Daredevil was a joke, and Ghost Rider was just an excuse for Hollywood A-listers to dress Nicholas Cage up in leather chaps and write “for a good ride with a flaming guy, call Nicholas Cage” in all the studio bathrooms. But Iron Man and the new Hulk are two of the best superhero movies I’ve seen in quite some time (Iron Man is slightly better, but both are definitely worth paying theater prices for). This whole film reeks of Edward Norton’s sheer talent just overtaking the entire movie-making process and producing the best-possible product (Eddie even wrote the final draft of the script, though some pretentious WGA a-holes denied him official writing credit for it). The only thing I would change about the movie is Liv Tyler’s level of attractiveness…maybe they can fix it in the sequel.

-Gem Garnets are Red, Kevin Garnetts are Green-
Right before the start of game six of the NBA Finals, Kevin Garnett got himself fired up to win, and headbutted the goalpost — which apparently knocked the baskets into Garnett’s team’s total submission for the night as they walloped Kobe and the Lakers by almost 40 points, winning their fourth game of the best-of-seven series and becoming the 2008 NBA Champions. I’m not recommending that any of you go all Zinedine Zidane on a metal goalpost next time you want to win a pickup game of knockout with your friends, but you can’t argue with results, and that’s exactly what the Celtics got. Now I know there’s a lot of anti-Boston sentiment out there right now (especially in LA), but believe me, this is just how things needed to shake down. Since the beginning of the playoffs I’ve said that we were going to see a Lakers/Celtics finals, with the C’s coming out on top. I pride myself on being right 99.9% of the time, so naturally this had to come true. I don’t know if I believe that God really cares about sports one way or the other, but from the beginning of this season, it’s seemed like the Celtics were just predestined to win it all. And to all you Boston haters out there, think about it this way: with Boston winning the NBA Championship, we’ll only have to put up with their gloating for a week or two. But if they’d gotten to the Finals and LOST, we’d be hearing about how cursed their town is (the Red Sox falling apart, the Patriots blowing their perfect season by losing in the SuperBowl, etc.) for the next 20 years. Because if there’s one thing Boston fans (in any sport) like even more than winning, it’s whining about how they should’ve won, why their team(s) got ripped off and blah blah blah. Trust me, this outcome is going to be better for all us non-Boston sports fans in the long run.

-Flower Power-
The Happening is bad. I was going to put some sort of clever joke as the start of this paragraph to kind of ease you into things, but really, I just needed to come right out and say it. I can’t speak for the rest of America, but for me this was M. Night’s last chance to prove to me that he had any real talent or ability as a movie-maker, and he did just that. He proved that he used up all his skill in making his first two hit movies, and now he’s out of talent-juice. On the ill-advised chance that you’re going to go see this movie I won’t spoil anything for you, but let’s just leave it at this: the acting is bad, the writing is bad, the directing is bad. And unfortunately, M. Night has no one to blame but himself (the price you pay for being the sole writer/producer/director on a movie). I saw the movie for free and still felt like it was overpriced. Just like the namesake of Michael Jackson’s number one single from 1987, this movie is bad. On the upside, we have nothing but guaranteed hits on the movie horizon, so it won’t be long before we can collectively wash the taste out The Happening out of our mouths and replace it with the sweetness of Get Smart, Love Guru and Wall*E. Yum.

Well, my creativity just tanked like Kobe after the first quarter of last night’s game, so I’m gonna head out and have some fun.

Stay green,

Separated at birth, maybe? Certainly can't deny the similarities...

Monday, June 16, 2008


I see you there. Staring at me from across a crowded room. Giving me that sexy look as you twirl your hair and playfully chug your 22-ounce glass of Guinness. Oh yeah, you want me. You motion for me to come over and buy you a drink. I shrug my shoulders and despondently turn my pants pockets inside-out — the universal sign for “I’m poor” — and then point back at you suggesting that you should buy this round. You laugh because you think I’m joking and being coy; I laugh because I know there’s only $3.98 in my checking account and a Los Angeles bar charges $15 for a long island. When you bring over my beverage and start to talk with me, you immediately become enamored with my wit, charm, muscular physique, rugged good looks and humility. I’m attracted to all the cute little things you do when you’re near me like slurring your speech (probably because you’re nervous about impressing me) and coughing up spurts of saliva on my sleeve after we do a shot. It’s adorable. But alas, just as things seem to be going so well, everything screeches to a halt. Why? Because you, like so many women before you, have committed a dealbreaker. And just like the dozens of denizens who have tried to win my heart over the years and failed, your chance has passed. If you’re one of the lucky ones who are still biding your time before you hit on me, here’s an abbreviated list of things to NOT do/have/be if you’d like to be considered for my affections:

Gauged ears.
Gauges should be saved for describing shotguns and the dashboard of your car; I’ve never seen a girl walk by and thought to myself, “my, she’d be so much prettier if she had earholes big enough to squeeze a PVC pipe through.” If you need to rebel against corporate America or your parents that badly, why don’t you just a get a tattoo or date a minority like everyone else does.

It’s probably better (and cheaper, medically) to be an awkward guy or girl than it is to be an awkward guy and girl. I don’t know anyone who has a big Adam’s Apple fetish.

Bad fashion sense.
I know it might feel weird to be judged about how you dress by someone who regularly wears flame-streaked Cons and a Jewel Concert t-shirt with jeans that are about five sizes too small, but that’s just how it is. Your best bet is just to try to be you and dress like yourself. Unless yourself is someone I don’t like. Then you’re hosed.

Too short.
I’m tall, and while I have nothing against short people (some of my best friends are hovering right around or below 5’), I prefer someone who can at least look me in the eye when they’re glaring at me for making another one of my hilarious sexist jokes.

Too tall.
If you’re taller than me and we’re dating, I probably wouldn’t be able to focus on the relationship since I’d be constantly worried about getting you back to the circus on time before the ringmaster realizes you’re gone.

Exceptions include Rachel Bilson, Alexis Bledel, Mila Kunis and a small handful of others. Ironically enough, actresses tend to be too much drama in a relationship. No one needs to see you make a scene when I break up with you in the non-smoking section of a Denny’s. Save it for the monologue.

Short-short hair.
Look at Demi Moore: years of critical and financial success, then she does one movie where she shaves her head, and all she’s really had since is a co-starring role in The Hunchback of Norte Dame 2 (straight to DVD) and Ashton Kutcher (who is probably only dating her as part of a giant prank for Punk’d). Now you might say to me, “But Dustin, isn’t all that a bit superficial?” And the answer is yes, yes it is.

Bad taste.
Sometimes this one can be hard to pinpoint, but if you’re really into things like Matthew McConaughey movies, country music, reality TV, prohibition, wacky broaches, and sitcoms like Two and a Half Men, then guess what? You’re also into bad taste! Congrats!

Taste bad.
This one should be a no-brainer. Either brush your teeth more often, quit smoking, lay off the chewing tobacco, tone down your coffee intake, or keep gum on hand at all times.

As soon as you cross over from being the person who bums cigs off other people, to being the person who people go to bum cigs off of, then you are smoking too much. And probably gross-tasting.

Anyone below a 7.5 on the traditional 10-point scale of attractiveness need not apply. If you’re not sure where you are on that scale, just ask me, and I’ll tell you (but odds are if you have to ask, the answer isn’t going to be a pleasant one).

Too tan.
It’s the middle of another frigid winter in the Midwest, yet your complexion is that of a Brazilian fisherman. That’s messed up. If you can’t get your tan the natural way, learn to look hot while pale (it worked for Gwen Stefani…kind of).

Funky Spellings of Names.
Katie with a Q? Jenny with all E’s? Tiffany with the I and Y switched? Your personality should be unique, your name should be uniform. If the only way you can make yourself stick out is by dotting your I’s with hearts, then we are not going to get along. Get it fixed, ladies.

That should be enough to get you started down the path of self-improvement for now, if you already meet all these qualifications and want more suggestions from me, then call me and we can set up a one-on-one coaching session. I’ll even let you buy dinner.

Much love,

Here's a group of people who meet all of my standards.

Friday, June 13, 2008

People Who Are Afraid of Specific Number/Day Combos Are Idiots

If you were one of the unlucky few who missed the giant Apple keynote presentation on Monday, let me give you a brief summary of the speech: iPhones are awesome, Macs are amazing, and Apple Inc. will be running all civilized countries by 2054. With Barack Obama having finally put the overeager, under-funded Hilary Clinton back in her place (I could make a chauvinist, sexist joke here, but it wouldn’t be appropriate…since Hilary isn’t actually female), I think the best choice for Obama’s running mate is none other than Apple CEO and co-founder, Steve Jobs. …Not certain that an Obama/Jobs ’08 ticket would be the best thing for America? Let me convince you otherwise by pointing out the benefits of an Obama/Jobs political union:

+Sick of boring political speeches, needlessly long rallies, and humdrum debates? With a master showman like Jobs on the ticket, political press conferences and presidential addresses would be transformed from useless CNN fodder to amazing, multi-sensory presentations that we would actually look forward to. Plus, Jobs’ would probably end each of them with some amazing news or innovation that would change the world for the better. Add in Obama’s intellectual prowess and we’re looking at what could be the most compelling and captivating stuff on television. What would it be like if presidential addresses pulled the same kind of ratings as the season finale of American Idol? We’d have a country full of people who actually cared about what was going on in their government, that’s what. And to keep all the girls interested, maybe they could appoint David Cook as the Secretary of Sexy. The Sexretary. You’re welcome, ladies.

+Obama is the first African-American ever up for presidential nomination, and I think that’s awesome — but what about all the racists? People who still fly the confederate flag on their gas-guzzling mega-trucks from the 80’s, KKK members, and the majority of Hilary Clinton’s supporters all get a vote the same as the rest of us. And with Hildawg off the market, their votes could easily switch from Hilary to the McCain camp. But with Steve Jobs in our corner, we’d have the kind of commanding, powerful white man that ignorant, less-powerful white men naturally respect and listen to. If Steve Jobs were running for VP, he’d probably gather all the country’s racists in one place (like a big conference room in a Cupertino, CA) and say, “Hey! Quit it! Stop being racist! Good. Now vote for Obama and I. And buy an iPhone.” And that would be the end of racism.

+Regardless of how you feel about the war in Iraq, the one thing we can all agree on is that we wish it was over. Steve Jobs is as famous for being a certified genius as he is infamous for being a certified madman. All it would take is for someone to tell Steve Jobs that somehow the war in Iraq was hurting Apple Inc. stock prices, and he would go ballistic and immediately fly over there and start kicking every Iraqi ass (without taking names) until there wasn’t anyone left to challenge his authority. He would use his abilities as a master strategist and his superior technology to lead the US Armed Forces in locating and dispelling every single Al Queda cell in the Middle East. Finally, he would track down Osama bin Laden and challenge him to a winner-take-all fight to the death streamed live on (and available for purchase on iTunes for just $1.99 immediately following the bout). Having already beaten cancer into submission, Steve Jobs would have no trouble thrashing Osama. Once victorious, he would then instate Justin Long and John Hodgman (the guy who plays PC in the Mac commercials) as Iraq’s new leadership, and they would transform it into a hilarious place to be — which would increase tourism commerce and bring safe, well-paying jobs to the Iraqi people. Once the area was secured, Jobs would build the world’s largest Macintosh computer-assembly factory in Iraq, which would bring even more jobs and create an even healthier economic environment. He would call this Apple mega-factory The iMaq. Within two years, Iraq would be the number seven funnest country on earth, and the fifteenth-best place to have your honeymoon.

+As Vice President of the United States, Steve Jobs would have the answer to skyrocketing gas prices, too! Using his connections at Pixar, SJ would commission a computer-animated movie about an adorable little fuel cell named Greenie who spends his whole life being bullied by gallons of gas called The Petroleum Pigs, who live in a giant Monster Truck that travels the world terrorizing everyone with their evil, ozone-destroying fumes. In the climatic final battle scene of the movie, Greenie has been cornered, and is about to be crushed by the giant wheel of The Petroleum Pigs’ Monster Truck — when just in the nick of time, Greenie’s best friends Wendy the Windmill-Generator and Sunny the Solar Panel show up! Wendy reverses her windmill rotation to send a gust of wind that blows the gascap off The Monster Truck, and Sunny reflects a concentrated beam of sunlight into the gas tank, igniting all The Petroleum Pigs and causing them to catch on fire. At the last second before the Petroleum Pigs and their truck explode, Greenie grabs the steering wheel of The Monster Truck and points the truck upwards. Our heroes jump into their electric getaway car and speed away at a blistering 27mph just as The Monster Truck explodes and launches into space along with the evil Petroleum Pigs, ending the reign of gas companies forever. This movie inspires a whole new generation of kids who quickly use their combined intelligence and think-out-of-the-boxery to invent safe, alternative methods of fueling and powering our society, thus ushering in an era of peace unlike any before it. In an act of true grace, Steve Jobs makes the movie available for free, unlimited HD viewings to anyone who buys an AppleTV system for their HDTV. The world rejoices.

…Mind you, these are just a paltry few of the thousands of positive things that would begin to take place once we put Barak Obama and Steve Jobs into office. So do the right thing, and petition your local Apple Retail Store Manager to petition their Regional Manager to petition their Apple Corporate Vice President to petition their Executive Board Member in Charge of Operations to petition Steve Jobs to run for office beneath Barack Obama. Because the only way we’re going to see positive change in this country is if we let Steve Jobs force it down our collective throats while Barack convinces us we like it. It’s the iMerican way.

Happy Friday the 13th,

Obama/Jobs '08: Putting the Electable in Delectable since 1987

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fewer Bars in Fewer Places

The title of this post actually works on a lot of levels, since not only am I writing this post before we have internet hooked up at our house (i.e. fewer bars of wi-fi), but now that we live in a less downtrodden, much nicer/safer part of LA, our apartment doesn’t have and/or need cast-iron bars on all the windows, doors, etc. to prevent people from breaking in and robbing us blind (at our old house on USC campus, even the little window on the stove had bars on it…although how someone could break into our house from inside the stove is still a mystery to me, but better safe than sorry, I suppose). Conversely, an initial scouting report of the area reveals that there are actually more bars (that is, the kind that serve delicious and refreshing alcohol to patrons over 21) in more places around here than at our old house, so that’s a definite boon as well.

-Stating the Obvious-
So it’s been a smidge over a week since moving into my new abode, and as you shouldn’t be surprised to hear, I love it. Literally. I both love and am in love with it. My roommates and I are the only male residents of the entire complex (bonus features!) and every single characteristic about this apartment pleases me to no end. I made one of my now-frequent trips to the beach yesterday, chatting up a lovely blonde female who was reading the same thing I was (that is to say, we were both reading a book — not the same book, mind you — but still, what are the odds?), had myself a nice Jamba Juice, made some phone calls and just had a splendid time. On a minor downside, I put on some SPF-8 sunscreen yesterday, but missed the spot right underneath my left eye, so now it’s sunburnt and red-ish, and it looks like I got into a wicked fight with someone who got a direct hit to my left eye. Oh well, maybe I can tell people I joined a Redondo Beach Fight Club and I’ll get mad amounts of street cred. But probably people will just assume that I got tipsy and made some unwanted sexual advances to a girl who then proceeded to knock me out with a single punch to the eye. Which, truthfully, is much more likely.

-Panda Watch-
At the sacrifice of less-important things such as clothes, gas, and food, I have been spending my money by going to see at least one awesome movie each opening weekend (minus the one-weekend hiatus I took when Sex and the City came out*), and this week, Kung Fu Panda was the movie du jour (…du week?). In keeping with the tradition of most of the summer’s fare, it was awesome. The animation is obviously amazing since it was produced by Pixar (the world’s only company to make their entire fortune of a singular curiosity-ridden, bouncing desklamp) and the story is an uplifting one that will appeal to chubby kids everywhere. As well as their chubby friends, chubby families, chubby coworkers, chubby neighbors, and (probably also chubby) pets. All faux-fat-jokes aside, the movie is good, and the only thing that baffles me is the casting: you obviously see/hear a ton of Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman in the leading roles, but it took me until the end credits to realize that their costars were bigtime names such as Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogan, David Cross and Lucy Liu (minus David Cross, whose voice I recognized after the second syllable of his first line…a side effect of being an Arrested Development obsessee, no doubt). The reason for this delayed recognition wasn’t because their voices were disguised or unrecognizable, it’s just because they really didn’t have that much dialogue in the movie. I bet cumulatively they had fewer than 11 pages of scripted lines that made it into the final cut of the film. This is pretty much par for the course for David Cross, whose Hollywood niche seems to be the perpetual sidekick, but was especially surprising for the others — especially Angelina Jolie and Seth Rogan, both of whom have major, recent hits under their belts with more on the way in the near future. So my question to you, the Hollywood movie producer, is this: in an industry as budget-driven as film-making, why pay Jolie/Rogan/Liu/Cross-sized money when their parts are so secondary that you could’ve cast nobodies in the same roles without a noticeable difference? If you’ve got an answer for me, I’d love to hear it, but until then I’m just going to add it to the ever-increasing list of things I don’t understand about “the biz” (a list which includes such conundrums as why hasn’t Brad Pitt aged in the past two-and-a-half decades, why people find Sarah Jessica Parker attractive but not Lindsay Lohan, why everybody doesn’t own an iPhone, and whether or not Haley Joel Osment is actually a genetic clone of Macaulay Culkin sent in by the U.S. government as a spy to steal the fabled “Secret Scroll of Movie-Making” from James Cameron).

-Somehow I Still have $4 Left on My AMC Giftcard-
On the new-movie dossier for this week: The Incredible Hulk (aka “The Incredible to Think That They Just Made This Exact Same Movie a Couple of Years Ago, But Are Pretending Like That One Never Happened Since it Was So Dreadfully Bad Hulk”), and The Happening (aka M. Night Shyamalan’s last chance at salvaging his career). I’m excited for the new Hulk because the immensely-talented (and my favorite actor and personal hero) Edward Norton is involved, and he’s been fighting with Marvel Studios to make sure this movie comes out exactly how he wants it to (you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry). I’m less excited for The Happening, but like everybody else in the world I’ll go see it with the hope that M. Night (the “M” stands for Magic, but he didn’t want people to confuse him with the former NBA great) can repeat the critical and financial success he had with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable (although Signs, Lady in the Water, The Village and Stuart Little hardly make a compelling case for that outcome).

Weezer released their third self-titled record this week (their sixth album overall), and like its color-coded predecessors (The Blue and Green albums), The Red Album is some of Weezer’s best stuff, and is going to do a lot to put their glasses-clad, perpetually-dejected founder/frontman and the rest of his emo-rock quartet back on the map of relevance. I like the album, is what I’m saying. It’s got the right amount of catchy vocals, the right amount of pensive sadness, and plenty of Rivers Cuomo’s trademark musical talent mixed in throughout. It doesn’t quite recapture the musical genius of the life-changing Blue Album (and at this point, it’s hard to think that any of their offerings ever will) or the grungy goodness of Pinkerton, but it’s still a good listen and definitely worth your time and money. Oh and get the Red Album Deluxe Version — those four extra songs really help add a lot more depth to the record and it’ll be cheaper than downloading them on iTunes later.

Well believe it or not, I STILL have more to say…but at this point even I am losing interest in reading this thing, so I’m going to wrap things up for the moment, grab some In N’ Out Burger, and get on with my evening. See you on the flip side, as the cool kids say.


...i think that might be too many bars. And yeah, I admit this is a pretty weak photo and/or caption, but I've been busy...cut a guy some slack, ok?

*During a recent trip to the theater with my roommate, we had a lot of time to kill before our showing actually started, so I briefly poked my head in to an in-progress showing of the Sex and the City movie across the hall from our theater. And wow. I mean, good Lord, I expected it to be pretty bad — but this was just downright horrendous. I only saw about 90 seconds of it, and it was the scene where the ladies are laying out at some kind of resort and discussing waxing, and then the next scene where they go to the resort’s restaurant. I was appalled. The dialogue was weak, the acting was sub-par at best, the one liners were as jagged and lifeless as the movie’s leading ladies themselves, the jokes (if you can call them that) came off more like post-menopausal bitchiness than anything intended to be funny, and the characters’ motivation was nonexistent. Obviously I can’t fully judge a movie without seeing it in its entirety (though that’s never stopped me before), but let’s just say my first (and probably last) impressions of this film and this franchise were not particularly favorable. That said, I can see why this series and film is so popular within its demographic (well-funded middle-aged and quarter-aged women who desperately want/need a feminine mascot to rally behind), but I hope that we (as the viewing public) have gotten the taste for the sickeningly sugary and shallow SATC out of our system and are ready for something with a little more substance that everyone can enjoy. I propose margaritas. On the rocks, no salt. Now that’s a meal.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


As Abraham Lincoln once said, “cocaine’s a hell of a drug.” It’s with that in mind that I bring to you today’s educational tidbit in a segment I like to call “LA-isms.” After six months out here, I’ve noticed some things in life that are unique to Los Angeles and her residents (FYI all cities are female — except the overly-butch city of Pittsburgh, which is definitely male…my condolences to all the Penguins fans out there, by the way. As much as I dislike the Pens, I’d still rather see them win than Detroit. Oh well), and since a ton of you non-Californians are planning on visiting me over the summer (the official Californian word for non-resident is “sucker”), I want you to be educated on what people mean when they say certain things, so you’ll fit in right from the start. Let me preface this by saying that everyone who lives in Los Angeles is in the entertainment business or wants to be in the entertainment business. Even the people who swear that they’re not trying to get into the entertainment business (like doctors, firemen and the mentally challenged) are still connected in some way. I know a doctor who is also trying to be a screenwriter; a fireman who does stunt work on the side, and a mentally challenged individual who’s trying to make it as an actor (his name is Vin Diesel). With that in mind, I’ll start by translating some industry-related LA-isms and then work my way to the others…

Question: “Are you in the industry?”
Phrase 1: “I have some projects in the works”
Actual Meaning: “I don’t have any projects in the works, no agency representation, no completed screenplays, no connections in the business and no discernable talent of any sort.”

Phrase 2: “I’m Taking Meetings”
Actual Meaning: “My broke-ass, stoner roommate and I managed to crank out one 45-page, grammatically-embarrassing, inside-joke-laden script that’s basically just a Juno rip-off, and now we want someone to show up on our doorstep and offer us $20 million for it.”

Phrase 3: “I’m an actor”
Actual Meaning: “I’m a waiter who once got paid to be an extra in The Mighty Ducks 4.”

Phrase 4: “I support the strike”
Actual Meaning: “I was guilted into supporting the WGA strike in exchange for a false sense of self-righteousness, and because I was so pompous during that strike, now I’ll look like a hypocrite if I don’t support the SAG strike even though it is less necessary, will be less effective, and will needlessly put me out of work for another six months…forcing me to go back to my job as a waiter.”

Question: “Do you smoke?”
Phrase: “I’m trying to quit.”
Actual Meaning: “I started smoking in the mid-90’s because everyone said it was cool, then in the mid-2000’s, everyone suddenly changed their minds and decided that it was actually UNcool to smoke; but now I’ve been smoking for almost a decade, I’m legitimately addicted and have no intention of quitting. But I can’t tell people that because I’ll sound uncool, so instead I’m going to tell people that I’m trying to quit while simultaneously smoking just as much (or more) than I ever have until smoking becomes cool again sometime in the mid 2020’s.”

Question: “Are you guys dating?”
Phrase 1: “We’re not dating, but we are going on dates.”
Actual Meaning: “We are hooking up like mad, with an occasional trip to the movies mixed in just so we don’t feel like total whores.”

Phrase 2: “We’re dating, but we’re not exclusive.”
Actual Meaning: “I think he/she cheated on me last weekend, so I’m going to cheat on him/her this weekend out of spite, and either way the whole thing will be over a month from now with nothing to show for it except more frequent visits to my therapist.”

Phrase 3: “We’re talking.”
Actual Meaning: “We’re dating.”

Phrase 4: “He/she and I didn’t really vibe.”
Actual Meaning: “I either got shut down hardcore when I asked them out, or I’m a closet homosexual.”

…Speaking of closet homosexuals, Jimmy Fallon came by work for lunch the other day, and I just felt the need to point out that he’s significantly taller than I expected. Usually when I meet people in real life that I’ve only seen on the screen, they’re shorter than I expect, but Fallon had a good few inches on me (in more ways than one… hey-o!), so maybe you can’t judge people entirely from how they are on TV after all…although he did giggle through our entire conversation like it was an SNL skit, so I could be wrong.

Last (and probably least), I moved into my NEW APARTMENT in Redondo Beach this week (that’s the southwest side of LA for you outsiders) and it is absolutely baller. It’s a little over a mile from the beach, it’s close to a really nice movie theater, a really nice mall, a lot of my friends, and I even get my own garage. Truly, it is paradise. Pictures to come as soon as we get moved in (and internetted), and you locals should keep your eyes peeled for some kind of social gathering there in the neat future.

That’s all the big news, be sure to check back in next week for how YOU can win the opportunity to cook dinner for me for the next several years. Also, does anyone who reads this (and lives nearby) know how to sew a button back onto a shirt? I have need of those services and would be willing to trade goods or services (wink wink) in exchange for your sewing expertise. Hollaback, grrrl.


...Nothing says "LA" like attending a $250 per plate charity dinner...for free. Tasty.