Friday, September 29, 2006

Now that's an interesting choice

I admit, the prospect of an Iron Man film did not set my heart a'flutter. Nor did the announcement that Jon Favreau was set to direct. Not that I have anything against Favreau, he's just not the sort of director whose films I race out to see on opening weekend. But now they've announced that Tony Stark will be played by Robert Downey, Jr.

And now I'm actually pretty intrigued.

I still might not see it in the theater. Iron Man isn't a property that really gets my blood up. But the project certainly has my attention now.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


There's a new Kitty-Face Kitty over at The Lair. And if you haven't already, be sure to check out Leslie's site, full of various arty what-have-yous.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On dopplegangers

At Sam's party last weekend someone (Sam? McKenna? Kim thinks it was Frank) mentioned to me how much they think Jack Nicholson in the posters for The Departed looks like Captain Amazing. I confessed I hadn't noticed. But now that it's been pointed out to me, I can really see it. In fact, it is now all I can see.

It's kind of uncanny, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Nerd Level = Extreme

Kim asked me about it over the weekend, so I feel I should make it perfectly clear.

Yes, my smile in the Team Atrox photo is quite deliberate.

And yet more television

Solid Family Guy and American Dad episodes on Sunday. Thought I might have more to say about that? You'd be wrong.

The second episode of Studio 60 was a vast improvement, with Amanda Peet bugging me very little. Unfortunately Sarah Paulson was right there to pick up the slack. It's not that her performance is poor, it's just off. At this point I don't think there's any way that the woman being portrayed here would be the break-out female star of a wacky sketch comedy show. No way. She was so much less animated than everyone else during the musical number. And speaking of the musical number, Sorkin should probably avoid showing the actual sketches in the future if they're all going to be an unconvincing and unfunny as that one. But still, a vastly better effort all around. Whitford and Perry are fantastic.

I nodded off before the Heroes pilot ended, but I enjoyed what I saw. Not a lot to complain about, but I didn't think there was that much to get worked up about, either. Some of the characters are already grating (I'm looking at you, flying brothers and tortured, drug-addicted artist), but a few are charming. I'm particularly enamored with the Japanese guy. It was also a good move to have many of the characters already know they had powers. And the scene where the cheerleader tucks her ribs back into place gets 1,000 points.

It seems that the geekification of America conintues, since Heroes saw strong initial ratings. I'm actually pretty surprised by that.

There was a weekend, right?

Everyone went to Disneyland and had a great time. I stayed at home and read a book.


No, just kidding. Kim came over Friday night (and didn't leave until Sunday night, so just assume she was along for all the following adventures). We had dinner and headed over to Sam's place for his birthday festivities. I hadn't seen many of those Westside kids in quite a while, so it was a good time. Sam's bed is tiny. We asked him how he slept on it and he said he liked to curl up. It was then that I realized that Sam's bed is tiny by design, because it is a womb-surrogate. FACT.

Saturday I did... something? My memory is so bad, y'all. Kim and I... had lunch? And then we did some other stuff? I believe at some point Kim, Emory and Leslie all took a nap (not all in the same bed) and I read Jonathan Strange. I do know that in the evening I showed Kim some season 5 Simpsons episodes because she had never seen an entire episode of it in her life. It was sort of disorienting when I had to explain who Sideshow Bob was, but she seemd to like the episodes she saw.

Sunday we went over to Mike's for some Rifftrax action on XXX and Crossroads. They were great. Mike Nelson seems comfortable in this format now, and the jokes come more often and are consistently funnier. But Crossroads itself provided the biggest laugh of the afternoon with the choice dialogue "There's bathrobes!" Say it and impress your friends!

The weekend capped off with a Wire viewing, as all good weekends should.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The nightmare becomes reality

The instant Atrox horror classic "Laundry Day" is now up on YouTube. Emory's psychological terror is your delight.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Video Games... LIVE!

The concert's title really just makes me think of those old Sesame Street stage shows. Do they still do those? Probably.

So a group of us hit up the Hollywood Bowl last night to see the Video Games Live concert. It was a good time, even though I hadn't actually played most of the games featured, since I'm so out of touch with the kids these days. But they did have the old classics like Zelda and Mario and the like. And at one point the MC asked Tim Schafer to come out on stage, and Schafer introduced this four-man band who were the original music team for LucasArts and they busted out some music from Outlaws and Grim Fandango, and concluded with the theme from Monkey Island, so that was worth every penny I paid to get in. Now I really want to replay those games, but I would need to download Monkey Island (meaning I could only play it on Emory and Leslie's computer) and my copy of Grim Fandango is corrupted. Curse you, cruel fates!

The Office!

Last night's episode was hilarious, but seemed a bit more like an entry of the British version as it occasionally cranked the uncomfortable-meter up to 11. Still, Michael and Oscar's kiss was pure gold from start to finish. And the whole gaydar thing. And Jim's takes to the camera during the "calculator in Jell-O" incident. I really like the show.

Plus, Rashida Jones was in it! I think she's funny and pretty! And her line about Jim's mugging to the camera was also great.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tip "Top"

That's my Entertainment Weekly Top Model-themed headline.

So last night, about the time I should have been going to bed, I realized I'd be out and about this evening so I had better watch the Top Model premiere while I could.

The first episode of any season (sorry, "cycle") of Top Model is always the weakest, since we have to whittle down to the final thirteen (whose identies we already know, thanks to the internet) and everyone's at their screechiest and most excitable. But that still didn't keep me from making some SNAP JUDGEMENTS.

I feel sort of bad liking Brooke so much so early, but I think she's adorable and pretty charming. A.J. is probably the hottest. Megan is Kim 2.0. (Now with more heterosexuality!) Monique's already-heinous behavior might prove to be good television (the promo for next week was certainly promising), but that kind of attitude can get really old, really fast. Let's hope for another Jade, not another Lisa. Another Jade. God! Can you imagine? That would be amazing. Melrose is really grating. Uh, who else? No one else left much of an impression on me. But it's early yet.

Office premiere tonight! I might have to watch it no matter how late I get home.


New Atrox strip. Leslie's back drawin'.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What's making me excessively giggle this afternoon?

I keep thinking of that one episode of Arrested Development with Mock Trial with J. Reinhold and how when Michael calls Franklin to the stand the Hung Jury band immediately kick in with Franklin's single and GOB does the most hilarious little dance on his way to the stand.


The fall season commences

Well, several shows have started already, but this is the week where a great deal of shows are returning or premiering, so I'm going to talk about television a bit this week.

Two episodes into the season and I can say this with certainty now: American Dad is better than Family Guy. American Dad had a pretty rock start in season 1, but it got progressively better, whereas Family Guy is really coasting. Both of their premieres this season were strong, but this past week Family Guy went right back in the crapper. Dad isn't as good as Family Guy was in its heyday (hayday? hay day?) but it's certainly the more consistent show now.

I've seen the Sudio 60 pilot twice now, once with Frank and once with Emory and Leslie. It was better the second time, mostly because I was prepared for Amanda Peet's acting that time. Every time she smilingly stares into space, her lips slightly parted, take a shot! Seriously, if she keeps this up she just might derail the show for me. But Whitford and Perry were delightful, and I have high hopes for the show. After all, Sports Night had a pretty weak pilot, too. Oh, and let's all take bets on which character's father has been having a secret affair for a specific number of years!

I wonder if Liz expects me to write recaps of Top Model this season. Well, I'm not going to do it. Several reasons.
1) They took a long time to write
2) I was not very good at them
3) Good recaps of that show can be found ALL OVER by people more dedicated than I

I'm looking forward to The Office premiere more than any other network show. Yeah, even more than the Mars! (Although you know I still love the Mars.)

Marc Singer continues his coverage of The Wire. During this last episode Clay Davis delievered possibly the longest "sheeeeeeet" in television history. It was awesome. Oh, and the rest was okay, too.

When does Battlestar start? Pretty soon, right? I wish I could pin down what it was about that show that keeps me at arm's length.

House is back. If you don't like the show, there's certainly nothing new to entice you. If you do like it, it's more of the same. I think my crush on Jennifer Morrison is spinning out of control, though. HOUSE!

I saw the premiere of Smith last night more or less by accident. That show might have the most B- or C-list movie stars of any new show this season. Ray Liotta! Virginia Madsen! Amy Smart! Johnny Lee Miller! Simon Baker! Shohreh Aghdashloo! It was pretty good, really. Your typical "assemble the team and pull off a heist" plot. I doubt I can be bothered to watch the whole season, but it was fine for what it was. Oh, and I was pleased when Chris Bauer showed up at the end. You might remember him as Frank Sobatka from season 2 of a certain HBO cop show.

The best way to start the day

I woke up this morning next to a small pile of cat vomit. I cleaned it up, took a vigorous shower, and dashed to meet my bus, which I missed by about 10 seconds. So I had to sprint down Sunset, cut up Wilcox, and meet the bus at Franklin and Cahuenga. Fortunately, I made it. Unfortunately, I felt like throwing up myself at that point, and was all sweaty for the whole bus ride to work. Good thing I took that shower!

At least I got some exercise.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Curse you, Sprint!

For the last few weeks, the casing around my cell phone's antenna has become more and more cracked, what with the wear and tear of my active lifestyle. Finally last week I accidentally dropped my phone, shattering the already-fragile chassis and sending my antenna flying. I stuck it back on with some tape (it still worked!) but finally had to concede that the phone needed some repairs. I took the phone into the Sprint store on Saturday, and they happily repaired my phone. But on Sunday I attempted to change the ringer volume using the side volume button, only to find it was now permanently stuck to "up." So now I have to go BACK to the Sprint store to have them repair their repairs. Stupid Sprint. I hold Matt responsible.

The weekend as a whole was pretty low key, since several folks with more money than I were off at Adam and Liz's wedding. There was a nice little birthday gathering at Lindsay's apartment, made espcially nice by Nell's presence, since she's returned for a few days. I also had dinner with Kim's family at The Olive Garden, and in the words of Principal Scudworth, I hadn't been to The Olive Garden in, like, forever.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wire Season 5

Unlike poor Deadwood, looks like The Wire will get to end on its own terms.


Brian Michael Bendis interviews Patton Oswalt over at Wizard online. Oswalt offers to call up Bendis's daughter as his character from Ratatouille in order to get the girl to eat her vegetables or do her chores.

You know, Wizard online is rougly 10,000 times less embarassing than the print version. FACT.


Everyone who has money and goodness in their hearts and stuff are jetting off to New Jersey this weekend for Adam and Liz's wedding. Ah, if only I could go. Sadly, I'm scraping together cash moneys just to be able to fly home in December for Christmas. So no wedding for me. But I wish those crazy kids the best, yes I do.

So earlier this year I went to Rachel's wedding, Danny and Katherine tied the knot last weekend, Ann's wedding is in November, I'm actually IN Matt's wedding next year, and Kenneth and Krysta just got engaged.

I think that's enough for now, everyone.

Another Thursday, Another Atrox

This one's written and drawn by yours truly. It's one part Paul discussing Roger Ebert's health problems and two parts Flex Mentallo from Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol. I write what I know. Or what is in front of me at a given time, at least.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Aaah! My legs!"

What's the fastest way to get me to appreciate a goofy 70's psuedo-horror tale? Make a vastly shittier American version!

As should come as no surprise to any of you, Neil LaBute's Wicker Man remake is not very good. I saw it for two reasons. 1) It was free and 2) to research a bit. So yeah, the movie's bad, but as Frank noted afterwards "That movie wasn't any better than I thought it would be, but it was much more entertaining." While no studio movie in this day and age could possibly match the utter musical weirdness of the original, this is still an awfully goofy movie, punctuated regularly by Nic Cage basically admitting as much. When his cop character opens a child's desk to find a trapped, angry bird, Cage exclaims "WHAT?!?" in a way that suggests that no one told the actor there was a bird in there. That exclamation is only matched by his cry of "Goddammit!" when he realizes he's just dreamed a double fake-out (you know, he thinks he woke up from a nightmare but then he's STILL IN THE NIGHTMARE and then he wakes up for real). Eventually Cage just decides the best solution would be to just punch everyone, which is especially funny once he's dressed in a bear suit. And instead of smoothing over the flaws of the first movie, this one just flags them up further, especially at the end, when the conspiracy to ensnare Cage proves itself to be much more complicated than seemingly necessary. It's a dumb, dumb movie. I found myself wishing someone would break into song.

Aaron Eckhart shows up for a one-line cameo at the beginning, and I'd say it was to keep his track record of being in every LaBute film, but Eckhart wasn't in The Shape of Things, right?

Oh, and Molly Parker plays two different characters for no reason whatsoever.

Oh! And then there's that hilarious coda, which features a very special guest star.

Really, the movie jettisons all the condemnation of religious fervor from the original and replaces it with a "Bitches just want your seed!" kind of mentality. Classy.

But there was one bright spot. The absolute best part of the movie is when Cage, still at his local precinct, passes by a Missing poster sporting a picture of Edward Woodward, the star of the original. That was really the only genuinely good bit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jeff shuts up about The Wire for two seconds

And lets someone else talk about it.

Marc Singer's got one of the best blogs out there. He doesn't update daily, but when there's something new there it's always worth a look. And with a strong appreciation for both Grant Morrison and now The Wire, he likes all the right things. I'm sure I'll add a permanent link to the sidebar very soon.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Do you ever start a week and get a bad feeling about it? I have a bad feeling about this week. Not like a "Oh, something TERRIBLE will happen" vide to it, more like a "this week's going to be a long slog" feeling. Work's already slow and it's only Monday. Monday's are supposed to go QUICKLY. What are Tuesday and Wednesday going to be like? Bad news. Hey everyone, let's do fun, exciting things during the evenings this week, okay?

Why do things when you can watch things?

So many damn movies have I watched (or re-watched).

Idiocracy - The new Mike Judge movie, dumped in minimal theaters with no fanfare for no apparent reason. Naturally, that means it's pretty damn funny. Although hobbled by a clearly tacked-on voiceover, there's a lot of clever stuff in this movie. Definitely catch it on DVD, where it will hopefully be restored to its intended version.

Babe: Pig in the City - What a great movie. I'm pretty sure Kim hated it, despite the fact that at the outset I assured her that all the animals survived, and that there was a happy ending. But the movie really is all about watching adorable creatures suffer for 90 minutes, so if you're not into that, I can't imagine how you'd get through this movie. But I love it so. I mean, it's only half as psychologically scarring as Return to Oz.

United 93 - Whew. This movie's quite excellent, but damn it'll wear you out. What I didn't know about this movie was how much of its running time is spent covering what happened on the ground as people twigged to what was happening. The movie's not for everyone, but it certainly lends an immediacy to the events of 9/11.

Spaceballs - Emory and I watched this right after United 93, y'know, to switch things up a little. We've both got this movie pretty much memorized, but hadn't seen it in years. It's wretched, but nothing can take away the pure comedic poetry of "Keep firing, assholes!" Or the bit where Dark Helment is playing with his Spaceballs dolls. Or "Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." Really, everything Rick Moranis does in this movie is gold. But it's a movie that's much more fun to remember than actually experience.

Fantastic Four - I hadn't actually seen this in the theater, but that's what HBO is for. It's perfectly mediocre and serviceable. There's some nice Thing/Human Torch interplay. Really, the movie nails both Johnny and Ben's characters. Shame Reed and Sue and Doom are so bland. The problem with Doom is that he's the great comic villain that would never work on the screen in his original incarnation, what with the theatrics and the talking in the third person and all. It would seem irredeemably goofy, even for an FF movie. This version's just fine, really. Much like the movie itself. It's not very good, but they don't do anything glaringly wrong, and they do several things right. That's really all I can hope for for a comic property in which I have so little emotional investment.

The Wire - *claps hands and shrieks like a five-year-old*

Friday, September 08, 2006

Various things on the tube

Wow! Sounds like a good day to talk about television!

We finally started watching the 3rd season of Arrested Development on DVD. I think Scott Baio's line of "Oh, I've been brought in to replace Barry Zuckerkorn before" might be the best meta-joke in the history of anything. And the bit where none of the Bluths can properly imitate a chicken might be the best running gag in the history of anything. And I might just be a huge sucker for this show, so everything I say about it should probably be seen as hyperbole. Yes, indeed. I am, at this moment, still giggling about the note Charlize Theron leaves for Dave Thomas. It's the fact that he knows what it means that kills me.

Now for some television that is still actually on the air. We at Llama School finally got around to watching the last three episodes of The 4400 featuring the return of everyone's favorite rocketeer, Billy Campbell! Uh, SPOILERS. Since it's The 4400, there's another big plot shift at the end of this season. A plot shift that is awesome. But boo to the double fake-out with Tom and Isabelle. Boo to that! We were SO EXCITED at the commercial break. We were like "He wasn't gonna shoot her and THEN HE SHOT HER! Go, show, go!" And then it came back and we were like "She LIVED? A double fake-out?!? Up yours, show!" Now we have to put up with Isabelle's shitty acting for another season. But maybe she'll be in a coma the whole time, or something. God willing. Really, the final shot of the season really emcompasses the show as a whole, since it was simultaneously pretty awesome and totally goofy. This remains the very best sort-of-bad show on television. Hey! I bet Heroes will be worse! I guess I'll find out. (I am a masochist.)

House was the first of our regular shows to premiere, and remains as delightful as always. The shake-up with House's leg working and him being friendly is a nice touch. But soon he'll be back on the drugs, because he can never quell his INNER pain. Oh, House. You nut.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tea Time hits YouTube

Perhaps you are a lazy person who reads this blog and was unable or unwilling to click all the way over to The Atrox to watch "Tea Time." Since it should be watched by everyone, "Tea Time" has now come to YOU.

You lucky dogs.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I added a reading list to the sidebar, as much for me as for you. I have lots of time to read what with riding the bus, waiting for the bus, killing the lunch hour, etc. But occasionally I run out of new books, or can't think of what to read next, and I just drop it for a week or two and spend bus time listening to CDs or whatever. But I really want to keep up the reading, so I'm going to try and have a new book waiting while I'm reading my current book. Virgin Suicides only took me two or three days, but now I'm into Homicide, which is extremely dense and something to the tune of 650 pages, so I'll be at this awhile. And I've got Jonathan Strange lined up after that, so that should give me time to plan what comes next. Ooh, reading! It's awesome!

Oh, remember Olympos, that I was so excited about? It sucked. Big time. Not in a "Oh, I expected something else" way, but in a "Oh, this just sucks" way. I read one review that basically said "Read Ilium (the first book), then make up your own ending to the story. Whatever you come up with is bound to be better than Olympos." I'm inclined to agree. Stick to the Hyperion end of Dan Simmons' ouevre.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tea Time!

This is the big one, folks. Well, it's not big in any sense of actually being large, but I am awfully proud of our newest video short, a brief primer for young ladies entitled "Tea Time." The joy it brings me is boundless. Let's hope you have a similar reaction.

Labor Day!

Yeah! Labor!

Friday night Kim came over and we had dinner and watched Clone High on into the night, because we could. Now the "Makeover" song's stuck in my head. Also, all the songs from the rock opera episode.

Saturday morning Kim and I headed out to Huntington Beach for some old-timey Civil War re-enactment-y goodness. It was all pretty fascinating, really, although there was also a lot of sitting around. Still, the battles were cool (fact: cannons are loud) and Kim got all dressed up in her dressy-dress so that was nice too. We headed back to LA in the early evening, unfortunately a little too late to catch Sam's play with Frank and McKenna, so we wound up watching Brick. I am pleased to report that my enthusiasm for that movie was not unfounded. It's a slick piece of work.

Sunday Kim headed home to y'know, actually be at home awhile, so I finished up season 2 of The Wire (told you!) with Emory and Leslie. Emory, it turns out, had never watched the season 2 finale. He enjoyed this season a lot more the second time through, as did I. It's still the weakest season, but it's great TV. After that I headed over to Mike's to watch the Cocktail edition of Rifftrax. It was pretty funny, although Cocktail is ridiculous enough that it almost provides its own comedy. Then we (Mike, Aimme, Corinne, and I, later to be joined by Paul and Laurel) headed to dinner and then to the Troubador (sans Laurel) to see The Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players, who proved to be delightful. I went to the concert on a whim, really, and was quite pleasantly surprised. The opening acts were intermitently horrible, but the Trachtenbergs were a good time. Definitely glad I went. Afterwards we went back to my place (sans Aimee) and watched the entire first disc of the first season of Arrested Development. That show is the good stuff.

Monday we at Llama School hosted an Infernal Affairs marathon, showing all three films in the series in one go. Infernal Affairs is the HK film that's been remade by Martin Scorcese as The Departed. IA is DAMN AWESOME, so hopefully the remake will do all right. Kim came over after the first movie, so I skipped out with her to see The Illusionist, which is totally serviceable and completely derivative. And you can see the ending coming from a million miles away. But it was all decent enough. A thoroughly average entertainment. After the movie a large group of us headed out to dinner at House of Pies, then a few of us went back to Llama School and watched The Mothman Prophecies. Man, how'd that movie ever get greenlit? It is just straight-up WEIRD. It's creepy as hell and very well-directed and acted, but it's just so damn odd. But I like it a lot. Plus, Mothman jokes are always funny. "Chapstick," y'all!

Thus ends my short essay on what I did with my Labor Day weekend.

Friday, September 01, 2006

America's sweetheart

Ladies, I am sorry, but Patrick Dempsey is NOT handsome. Is it the part he's playing? Is he really talented? I just don't get the Dempsey love.