October 31, 2005

a CLIP show? Already?

First of all, this is the last list from me for awhile. I am just too swamped trying to get the new sites ready and redesign the old ones. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll know when there’s a new one because I’ll send you the link, if you’re not, you’ll just have to check back. Note: if any of you want to do your own lists, I’ll be happy to run them during my absence.

I didn’t have time to do a Halloween one, but since you got them all through the weekend I figured you wouldn’t mind. Instead, we have a Crummy recap episode.

THE TOP TEN TOP TEN LISTS I’VE RUN SO FAR

#10 TV MOMS – Next year, I’m going as a MILF for Halloween

#9 B ACRONYMS – I had everyone guessing

#8 BEARS – I’m pretty sure this is why Bear no longer reads, since I didn’t put him on the list. Sorry, big guy.

#7 SIMPSONS HALLOWEEN EPISODES – I’ve been watching all the episodes the last two weeks, and I may have screwed up the list, but at least I had fun

#6 DISNEY SONGS – Another tough one, but I felt like I’d nailed it

#5 ‘80s SHOWS REDUX – I would watch every one of these

#4 HARRY POTTER – This was a sweet list, and spawned a new website (coming soon) WARNING: Mild Spoilers up to book 4

#3 SONGS TO DRIVE TO – The first (and pretty much only) time I got the group to participate. Doing this list throttled me. So many to choose from!

#2 EMOTIONAL MOVIE DEATHS – like Stella, I knew I’d hit my groove again

and the number one Top Ten List yet posted is…..

#1 HOT OLD CHICKS – C’mon. You know how I feel about older women! How could this not be number one?

October 30, 2005

Actual Scary TV characters

Last week Ajax submitted a column on scary-but-not-scary TV characters. I thought I would respond to that with a list of actual scary TV characters through out the ages. I see that someone already did a list, but my list is way better. They only got three out of ten right!

THE TOP TEN ACTUALLY SCARY TV CHARACTERS

#10 T-Bag (PRISON BREAK) – The only reason he’s at 10 is because the show is so new. A another season and this guy might crack the Top 5. When has a little white dude ever been that powerful in prison? Perhaps the scariest thing about T-Bag is how they make a child-rapist murderer into a compelling character.

#9 Dr. Claw (INSPECTOR GADGET) – This dude’s voice used to scare the tar out of me. Thank God Gadget had Brain and Penny to bail him out. [Aside: why can’t they bring Dr. Claw back, if only for other shows?]

#8 Mimi (THE DREW CAREY SHOW) – She was the major reason why I don’t watch Drew Carey. She reminded me of some unfunny rabid cannibal clown, and not in a good way.

#7 Emily (GILMORE GIRLS) – I would HATE to have a grandmother this negative and controlling. (Must resist obvious joke just in case my mother sees this strip.) Seriously, my grandparents are fairly normal. Emily is just in another world. I hate manipulative people. (Now find me two new readers this week or it means you don’t love me.)

#6 Patty/Selma (THE SIMPSONS) – Forget Mr. Burns, these two tubs of fun are the real horrors. Forget the sexual ambiguity, they just creep me out. I mean, who doesn’t like Homer?

#5 Sloane (ALIAS) – The closest thing to Dick Cheney on Television. Sloane would tell you he’s doing it for God and country, and then kill your family. Don’t get me wrong: I’m displeased that Sloane has power, as he CLEARLY knows how to get the job done, but boy is he scary.

#4 Harriet (SMALL WONDER) – No, not our Harriet (although she’s scary enough). The show was about this guy who makes a robotic daughter named Vicki, who didn’t have human emotion. The show was bad/scary enough, but there was this next-door neighbor, Harriet, who loved the robot’s human brother Jamie, and would do anything to win him over. I remember be so frightened of her, and thought all girls were like that. Then I grew up (and they’re worse!)

#3 Lois (MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE) – Is anyone else scared to death by her? She never stops yelling! That kind of abuse is only tolerated in a football coach, right?

#2 The Entire cast of OZ – Who isn’t scared of these dudes? Before he went straight on LAW & ORDER Chris Keller was terrifying her. Vern? I love the actor, but this character gave me chills. Adebisi? Shudder. Even Sister Marie and Father Ray were nefarious. Heck, even the cripple Augustus got so messed up that he turned into a deadbeat dad over on LOST!

and the number one actual scary TV character is…..

#1 Sun Baby (TELETUBBIES) – My friend Brandy was the first to alert me to how awful that Sun Baby was. And believe me, to stand out as scary on this show, it takes a special effort. The show is just plain weird! Has anyone else ever seen a few minutes of the seemingly nonsensical mewling from the Teletubbies and wondered if there’s some sort of mind control going on, a la YVAN EHT NIOJ? I definitely think it’s possible And if there is mind control, the baby pulling the strings has to be in that Sun. I’d keep my eye on him if I were you.

UP NEXT: Special Halloween Edition.

October 29, 2005

Dragons, Goblins and Witches

I don’t think I agree with much of these lists. But I didn’t change anything Ajax came up with? Why? Because his name is (at least temporarily) on the marquee, which means he can do the lists in whatever order he chooses. That’s how we do it in the H.I., beyotch.

THE TOP TEN MOVIES WITH DRAGONS, GOBLINS AND WITCHES

DRAGONS

10. Reign of Fire

9. Dragonheart

8. Dragonslayer

7. Pete's Dragon

6. Shrek

5. Mulan

4. Sleeping Beauty (This one gave me nightmares when I was a kid)

3. Dungeons and Dragons (BOO! HISS!)

2. Red Dragon

1. The Neverending Story (Falcor RULES!)

GOBLINS

10. Lord of the Rings-Fellowship

9. Lord of the Rings- Two Towers

8. Spider Man

7. Maximum Overdrive

6. Legend

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

4. Dungeons and Dragons (BOO! HISS!)

3. The Hobbit

2. The Black Cauldron

1. Labyrinth

WITCHES

10. Witches of Eastwick (hot witches!)

9. The Craft (hot young witches)

8. Sleeping Beauty (Disney witch)

7. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (another Disney witch)

6. Harry Potter (any)

5. Bewitched

4. Practical Magic

3. The Blair Witch Project (witch-free, but creepy as hell anyway)

2. Four Rooms

1. The Wizard of Oz


UP NEXT: Actual scary TV characters

October 28, 2005

Against-Type Villains

I was tinkering with the idea of best villains, when I came upon the category of Against Type. What I mean by that is a villain played by someone who normally plays a good guy. For example, if there was some movie with Jimmy Stewart as an axe murderer; that would be against type. At Denny’s I came up with 38 names (later augmented with IMDB research to 47). I was surprised to learn that many people I thought played bad guys against type actually played quite a few bad guys, so I had to leave them off the list. (For example, I would love to put Tom Wilkinson’s Carmine Falcone from BATMAN BEGINS or Ralph Fiennes’s Amon Goeth from SCHINDLER’S LIST, but both have several other bad guys.) I also cut Dustin Hoffman (Captain Hook), under the premise that it was camp and not really evil. If you disagree with my list, feel free to say so, but at least look into it and make sure your choice wasn’t one of those I had to cut because of other work. (IMDB should help.)

THE TOP TEN VILLAINS PLAYED AGAINST TYPE

#10 Denzel Washington (Alonzo Boyd) TRAINING DAY –Denzel has always been an actor who plays a version of himself. That’s not a criticism, as many fine actors do. However, in Training Day, Denzel got to show what he was capable of. The cool thing is that Alonzo Boyd isn’t all that different from other Denzel characters, but just pushed too far over the line. Great stuff.

#9 Keanu Reeves (Donnie Barksdale) THE GIFT – I know some of you would question Keanu getting on any lists for acting chops, but he has had some good performances, most notably in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and here. If nothing else, the brooding alcoholic wife-beater Reeves plays in THE GIFT is so different from his normal work, it proves he can act. At least occasionally.

#8 Matt Damon (Tom Ripley) THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY – I firmly believe Damon is the most talented of the young crop and can do anything, proven partly by his terrific turn as an obsessed man in THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. Director Anthony Minghella said Damon “conjured” the performance out of thin air, and I have to agree.

#7 Jennifer Jason Leigh (Hedy): SINGLE WHITE FEMALE – Watch FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and compare Leigh from that role to this. She’s awesome here, and makes me wish she played more variance, instead of the stupid hookers she mostly plays now.

#6 Tom Hanks (Michael Sullivan) ROAD TO PERDITION - I know Hanks has won two Oscars, but for my money he won them for the wrong two films. (My nods to him would go for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and CASTAWAY.) Here Hanks reinvents himself again as Michael Sullivan, a quiet man who knows he’s evil, but has to get the job done anyway. This is first rate work, and should only get better and more appreciated with time.

#5 Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator) TERMINATOR – Okay, admittedly this performance isn’t all that much different from the good guys Arnold played back then. But The Terminator had a force, a focus, a menace that was scary and impressive. It’s easy to credit James Cameron, but no one else could have played the role and gotten the same results.

#4 Tom Cruise (Lestat) INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE – I also got to give a shout out to Antonio Banderas and even Kirsten Dunst, who played against type as villains, but it’s Tom Cruise who steals the show. Tom gets cast so often as a version of himself that people realize he has as much range as any leading man in history. Lestat is delightful, wicked, and ten times better than how Stuart Townsend played him in QUEEN OF THE DAMNED.

#3 Kevin Spacey (Verbal Kint) THE USUAL SUSPECTS – “How do you shoot the Devil in the back? What if you miss?”

#2 John Wayne (Ethan Edwards) THE SEARCHERS – This is a very subtle performance; perhaps much more subtle than the audience was capable of seeing back then. Ostensibly Wayne plays Ethan Edwards as all his other roles; the taciturn hero doing his job, but there’s a difference here. Edwards is about the only guy tough enough to get the job done, but his attitudes and thoughts toward Indians ensures that he won’t be able to live in the future he’s providing for others. Do yourself a favor and check out this masterpiece.

and the number one villain played against type is…..

#1 Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lecter) THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS – Since Hopkins can do anything it’s tempting to say this isn’t against type, but I think you’ll admit he’s usually cast in more genteel quiet roles. Actually, Lecter is quite genteel and sophisticated himself, which makes his menace all the more scary. I love how he was able to frighten Clarice from behind the glass, how he talked Miggs into committing suicide, and I even loved the birdcage scene with the guards. REMAINS OF THE DAY may have been Hopkins’s best performance, but it was here he flexed his range muscles.

Up Next: In honor of Halloween I’ll be doing Top Ten lists throughout the weekend leading up to the big day.

October 25, 2005

Scary Cebrities (Part 2)

Sorry it took me so long to get this one up. Today is the companion piece to last Wednesday. Almost everyone I asked had two names: Britney Spears and Joan Rivers, but they’re just not scary to me, so apologies to those people.

THE TOP TEN SCARIEST FEMALE CELEBRITIES.

#10 Renée Zellweger – When she burst on the scene with JERRY McGUIRE I had such high hopes for her. Now…Sometimes this girl just creeps me out, and it starts with her eyebrows. They look alien and unnatural. Does anyone doubt that there’s a nervous breakdown here waiting to happen?

#9 Jane Kaczmarek – I hardcore believe that her Malcolm’s mother character is the way she really is.

#8 Sharon Stone – Another woman that used to be flat out gorgeous and compelling, and now just makes me want to hide; a good deal of with has to do with her eyebrows. What is it with you old chicks and eyebrows?

#7 Star Jones – I don’t know what’s worse: the extraordinarily annoying woman who was so awful that it was okay to make fat jokes, or the just as annoying woman who’s now as slim as Courtney Cox. What on Earth is going on?

#6 Helena Bonham Carter – I’ll admit she’s a fabulous actress, but something about her has always scared me. When I look into her eyes, I’m positive she’s already dead. Has anyone else had this feeling?

#5 Hillary Clinton – I can’t for the life of me understand how feminists hold up this woman as a role model. She got to the top by marrying someone. This is your Betty Freidan moment? What are the odds this woman is ruling the world in three year? 65%? Now that’s frightening.

#4 Rene Russo – I’ve come around on her a little, but she still scares me for the simple reason that I can’t help feeling that she’s a man. A very beautiful man, sure, but some of them drag queens are pretty hot. And that just makes me think all sorts of uncomfortable thoughts.

#3 Oprah Winfrey – Hillary could be ruling America one day, but Oprah already is. Her word is law, and this scares nobody?

#2 Courtney Love – I’m scared I’m going to get a disease just watching her on television. I can’t for the life of me figure out how this much skankiness is rewarded with fame or fortune. Plus—and I’m no Nirvana fan—but the shotgun was found far too many feet away from Cobain for a suicide. Add to that the fact that Courtney’s very first album came out five days after Kurt’s death….are you picking up what I’m putting down?

And the number one scariest female Celebrity is….

#1 Barbra Streisand – Like you even had to guess.

October 21, 2005

Scary Monsters (psyche)

Friends, I know I promised the second half of Scariest Celebrities. My extra duties were done and we’d be back on track. But I’m just (counts on fingers) one man. I am so wiped out, and I’ve been trying to get today’s column done, which as you can see by your Inbox STILL isn’t posted. I’m just in bad shape here.

Enter Ajax.

For the second day in a row that man—nay, that god, has stepped in and saved my bacon. This is a true friend. In fact, I’m so indebted to him that I’m wiping his punishment for blasphemy off the books. Yes, I’m ignoring his GNR comments from earlier this week. A few hours ago I called his wife and told her it was off. That’s how moved I was.

In honor of the upcoming holiday Ajax has sent in a list of non-scary TV monster. (Not sure, but I think it’s also his tribute to that whatever-it-is on LOST island. Speaking of that island, we should name it. I’ll address that on thinkstoomuch later in the day.) Like yesterday, this is a pretty sweet list, and once again Ajax has supplied us with helpful links. If you know him and see him this weekend, go up and give him a “thank you” pinch on the bottom for me.

THE TOP TEN NON-SCARY TV MONSTERS

10. Count Floyd- SCTV

http://www.tvacres.com/horror_floyd.htm

Canada's answer to SNL's Father Guido Sarducci, star of Monster Chiller Horror Theatre.

9. The Munsters

http://www.munsters.com/home.html

Website officially hosted by Butch Patrick, aka Eddie Munster. Which is pretty amazing when you think of all the script offers he must have every day.

8. The Addams Family

http://www.morticiasmorgue.com/addams.html

Originally starting as a cartoon in the New Yorker, The A.F. was the less campy creepy-TV offering. As well, they had Thing and a very catchy theme song.

7. Sesame Street (we're completely ignoring Sesame Park)

http://pbskids.org/sesame/

Can you believe that despite having a green, irritable monster parked out in a garbage can out front, a counting vampire (You know why they call him the Count?), and a blue creature that routinely and summarily destroys every cookie he comes in contact with, no one believed Big Bird had a friend named Snuffleupagus?

6. The Muppet Show

http://muppets.go.com/main.html

Not all monsters, though I have no idea what Gonzo or Animal were. And that one big guy in the full suit who periodically ate everything... And Stadler and Waldorf were just plain mean.

5. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

http://www.elvira.com/

Television's hottest child of the night. Makes Morticia Addams look like Barbara Walters in a black potato sack. A role-model for wannabe Goth girls everywhere.

4. Mike and Sullivan, Monsters Inc.

http://disney.go.com/disneyvideos/animatedfilms/monstersinc/index2.html

Just a couple of working stiffs, doing their jobs, terrifying pre-adolescents.

3. The Gorgs, Fraggle Rock

http://www.fragglerocker.com/

Yes, they were trying to catch and eat the fraggles, but they were also big and fat, and talked like 5 year olds.

2. The Friendly Giant

http://www.tvacres.com/child_friendlygiant.htm

Ran on Canadian television for about 25 years. Just a giant hanging around the house, singing songs and telling stories to his giraffe and rooster.

1. Samantha, Bewitched

http://www.tv.com/bewitched/show/140/summary.html

I could watch her wiggle her nose all day. Uh-oh! Darren's home!

October 20, 2005

One Hit Wonders

I know These two weeks are supposed to be “Scary” lists. And I know you’re all eagerly awaiting the Scariest female celebs. But I really am so busy the last couple of days that I don’t even have the time to type up that list. Thankfully, of his own accord, Ajax stepped to the plate and sent me a Top Ten List. It’s not technically scary, but many of these singers gave me the creeps. We should have part two of the Celeb list tomorrow, when things have calmed down.

[And for those of you wondering why I’d associate with Ajax after his sacrilege against GNR, don’t worry. His punishment is coming. But we Greek Immortals have to stick together.]

THE TOP TEN LIST OF ONE HIT WONDERS

You've probably heard all these songs. And you've never heard from the artists again. So sit down, take a read, and think about all the times you've heard these songs without reflecting on the suspicious disappearances of their performers.

10. Chumbawumba- Tubthumping

http://www.chumba.com/

I get knocked down, but I get up again. Repeat. Over and over.

9. Carl Douglas- Kung Fu Fighting

http://www.70disco.com/kungfu.htm

A career as fast as lightning (yah!) where no one had expert timing (wah!)

8.Sisquo- Thong Song

http://www.123musicstars.com/music-stars/sisqo.htm

Didn't this guy do Oprah?

7. Flock of Seagulls- I Ran

http://www.oz.net/~davester/AFOS/

This band started one of the most ridiculous hair trends ever, a distinction recently awarded to white ska fans who think natty dreds look so awesome on genuine west indies rastas it has to look at least a little cool on them.

6. Fine Young Cannibals- She Drives Me Crazy

http://www.dsv.su.se/~mats-bjo/fyc/fychome.html

It the sort of band name you'd expect from more intelligent punks and metal-heads. Instead it's a fluffy pop group.

5. Vapors- Turning Japanese

http://www.thevapours.com/

Quintessential 80s fluff, mostly about stalking and defective relationships. Right up their with Tainted Love by Soft Cell.

4. Right Said Fred- I'm Too Sexy

http://misterwonderman.tripod.com/rsf.html

Have you seen this guy? In a pink shirt? So NOT sexy.

3. Vanilla Ice- Ice Ice Baby

http://www.vanillaice.com/

This guy even made a movie (Cool as Ice) before his star faded completely. You don't think the producers of that felt a little sheepish?

2. Sir Mix-a-lot- Baby's Got Back

http://www.sirmixalot.com/

I like to think of this song as a feminist anthem, striking a blow against the modern beauty myth. In a completely chauvinist and misogynistic manner, of course. (Personal note: I have the video of Baby's Got Back on my desktop.)

1. Dexy's Midnight Runners- Come On Eileen

http://www.dexys.co.uk/

Extra points for being so popular despite the most muddled and uncertain lyrics since Indagaddadavida and Louie Louie.

October 18, 2005

Scary Celebs part 1

For this Halloween Season I thought I would make a list of the scariest celebrities. Of course, it would be easy to do just all women, since most of us tend to be scarder of them. (It’s a word.) But I wanted to go above and beyond the call of duty and tried my bestest to come up with men too. I did such a good job I decided to split the list up into 2.

THE TOP TEN SCARIEST FAMOUS MEN

#10 Kiefer/Donald Sutherland – These guys scare me for different reasons. With Kiefer, I always felt he was a dangerous man. (The fact that Kiefer almost married Julia Roberts only strengthens it.) When he joined the cast of 24 he became a good guy, but he’s still pretty rough, eh? As for his dad, there’s just something about that wolfish grin of his….

#9 Mel Gibson – I like Mel and his movies. But have you noticed how into pain this dude is? He can’t seem to make a movie where the main character isn’t tortured repeatedly. I think it started with Riggs in LETHAL WEAPON, but now that’s all he does. Makes you wonder if he has a fetish.

#8 James Spader – The man just unnerves me. Watching him he always is quiet and seems like he has a secret he knows about me that I’m not gonna like.

#7 Jon Voigt – Seeing as how all of his characters are fairly mean sons of bitches, isn’t it possible that it’s just him?

#6 Chi McBride – I can’t put my finger on why McBride unsettles me. There’s just something about each of his characters that he plays. I don’t know. Maybe I’m picking up a mean streak or something. Even in that righteous role on Boston Public there was something there….

#5 Jimmy Fallon – First of all, I don’t think I’ve EVER seen him be funny. But a lot of people think he is hilarious. Thing is: I think Fallon agrees with me. I think he’s scared to death that somehow he’s been fooling people, and that eventually they’re going to figure it out. That kind of desperation isn’t good.

#4 Ron Rifkin – Another guy who often plays villains. Rifkin is even more dangerous to me because his villains are usually so sophisticated, and there’s a likeability about him too. How many times has he fooled people on Alias?

#3 Jon Stewart – He scares me because I’m pretty sure he knows that a tremendous amount of young people take him seriously, despite his protests that it’s all fake news. I think they say that so much people get inured to it, and basically just believe the comedy of The Daily Show. The fact that I KNOW more than one of you right now is thinking, “But beyond the funny they make great points” proves me right.

#2 Suge Knight – Some (I said some) of the rappers may be faking their way around the Thug Life to sell records. I don’t think for a minute Knight is one of them. I think this dude is a Music Mafia don, and runs his businesses by threats, intimidation, and brute force. The bullet that hit Tupac was meant for him, so there’s a grudge I’m holding as well. But I’m not mad enough to mess with this dude.

And the number one scary male celebrity is…..

#1 Freddie Prinze Jr. – He’s colossally untalented. He makes Matthew Lillard (Matthew freaking Lillard!) look good in comparison. If Freddie ever made a movie with Keanu Reeves, they’d probably give Keanu an Oscar. So explain to me how this dude continues to get work. Movie after movie, and now his own show, a comedy, no less! As a kicker, he’s married to Buffy! (Sarah Michelle Gellar) There can be only one conclusion: Freddie Prinze Jr. has the goods on everybody. He belongs to some unholy alliance that puts people in positions of power, and he’s blackmailed himself to the top. That’s a dangerous fellow, and he scares the tar out of me.

October 17, 2005

Guns 'N Roses Songs

I have this friend who swears that Bon Jovi was the best hard-rock (or as my friend Dave used to say, “cock-rock”) band of the ‘80s. Obviously she’s nuts. That title belongs to Axl and my boys: Guns ‘N Roses. It’s not even arguable. For a brief (perhaps all-too-brief) time, Guns ‘N Roses simply ruled the world. And today, we give them credit.

THE TOP TEN GUNS ‘N ROSES SONGS

#10 14 Years – A very underrated song from “Use Your Illusion Volume 2,” it shows the boys in a more reflective state. (Barely beat out Live and Let Die)

#9 Patience – If only to hear Axl whistle

#8 Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door- Yes, a remake, but Axl and gang gave it a great rendition, 684784956 times better than that idiot girl did earlier this year.

#7 You Could be Mine – From the TERMINATOR 2 soundtrack. One of the more underrated movie songs of all time.

#6 Welcome to the Jungle – I know most would put this higher, but it’s only because the others are better that Jungle slips to 6. A great song, though, with trademark Axl caterwauling and rocking guitar.

#5 Civil War – the best song that never got released as a single. Again from “Use of Your Illusion Volume 2.” It starts with a great quote from COOL HAND LUKE and just gets better. I’m always amazed that this anti-war song isn’t played more often by current groups opposing military action.

#4 Paradise City – I love the way this song goes from kind of silky smooth to the frenetic crescendo

#3 Don’t Cry – Somewhat forgotten later on, Don’t Cry was actually Part 1 of a three-video series into the mystery. What mystery, you might ask? Who knows? Anyway, the video is creepy, especially when Axl is in that grave and keeps trying to get out. The song is the essence of a Hair-Rock power ballad.

#2 Sweet Child of Mine – The song that brought Guns ‘N Roses to national prominence. All the elements that made them great are right here. The manic upshifts, the heavy guitars, and Axl going freaking nuts. By the way, you should hear me imitate Axl on the end of Sweet Child. You’ll swear I’m the emaciated one himself.

And the number one Guns ‘N Roses song is….

#1 November Rain – As much as I love Sweet Child, this is a no brainer. If you have any doubt whatsoever, the video should tip the scales. With apologies to Vincent Price, one-armed drummers (and Pizazz), November Rain is the greatest music video of all time. It was Part 2 in the mystery, and I have to confess it drove me freaking nuts. How on earth did Axl’s wife (Stephanie Seymour) die? At the end of the video there was a credit saying the video was based on a short story by Del James. I spent weeks in the library trying to find it. (It took me 12 years). That’s a long story, one that I will tell another time. But back to November Rain. It’s hard to separate the song from the video. That elaborate wedding. Slash in the desert. The reception, and all the rain. The spilled wine. The funeral. Guns ‘N Roses in concert and Slash standing up on the piano to play while Axl pounded on the keys. I could go on and on. But without a doubt November Rain is the best Guns ‘N Roses song of all time (and some day I’ll tell you the story of the ordeal of figuring out what the heck happened to his wife).

October 14, 2005

Don't blame me...I voted for Kodos: Treehouse of Horror


TOP TEN SIMPSONS HALLOWEEN STORIES



Honorable Mention: Homer^3 – This really isn’t in the same class as the top ones, but I felt it deserved an HM for figuring out a way to make Homer 3-D.



#10 Easy-Bake Coven – The Salem Witch Trials give us a lot of material. I also love Homer egging his own house. My favorite quote:

Lisa: [when they are about to throw Marge over a cliff on suspicion of being a witch] Stop! Doesn't the Bible say 'Judge not lest ye be judged'?

(crowd in mutters amongst themselves)

Wiggum: The bible says a lot of things, shove her!



#9 Nightmare Cafeteria – I’d say there’s a little “Uter” in all of us. The way Mrs. Krabapple hands out detention. Milhouse falling into the blender right after Bart proclaims they’ll all be safe, prompting Bart to say, “Nevertheless, I still feel that something will come along to save the two Simpson children.” Classic. [Yeah, I know it's the wrong picture. You find that blender!]



#8 Hell Toupee – The answer to the question, “Would Homer kill for a lush head of hair?” My favorite line is right after Chief Wiggum shoots and kills the defiant fist-clenching toupee:

Wiggum: Now that's what I call a bad hair day.

[everyone but Marge laughs]

Marge: May I remind you that two people are dead and ... oh, wait, I just got it. [joins everyone else in laughing]

[Hyperion’s note: Each one of the titles is a clever pun. I just figured out this one. Look at it again. See?]



#7 King Homer – This is a very classic story, but I’d have to include it anyway for the sole reason that they get away with the most risqué line in Simpsons history:

Marge: My name is Marge Bouvier. I'm here about your ad [in the newspaper she is holding]: "Single white female wanted for mysterious expedition. Must like monkeys.
Non-smoker preferred.''

Burns: Well, you'd be a welcome change of pace from the rest of these crude and uncouth sailors.

[On the dock, two of the crude and uncouth sailors ("Aarrr!'') attempt to stare each other down. Mr. Burns turns to Smithers.]

Burns: What do you think, Smithers?

Smithers: I think women and sea-men don't mix.

Burns: We “know” what you think!




#6 Attack of the 50’ Eyesores – Homer stealing the doughnut from Lard Lad is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. (He puts panty-hose over his head.) Lard Lad has some character too. Actually, all the monsters do, especially Mr. Peanut and the Devil that Bart talks into destroying the school. My favorite line:

Marge: [arriving home in the car] Homer, just give him the donut! Once he has it, that will be the end of all this horror.

Homer: Well...OK. If it'll end horror.
[Hyperion’s note: you must Must MUST use that line today when your boss orders you to do something.]




#5 The Shining – This has so many great moments I don’t even know where to begin. Homer being cool with the witch burnings and ancient Indian burial grounds, but shuddering at four John Denver Christmas Specials. Bart keeps trying to say “The Shining” but Willy makes him pronounce it “the Shinning” so they don’t get sued. Homer does the “Here’s Johnny!” line when he hacks through the door, but gets the wrong one and then goes to David Lettermen and finally the cast of 60 Minutes which freaks everyone out.





#4 Monkey’s Paw – Kang and Kodos enslave the world in their very first role, thanks to the ole monkey's paw. A little satire (and not the first time) on gun-control. Flan ders saves the world. Maggie wishes for a gold pacifier. And the single greatest quote in Halloween history:

Homer: I'll make a wish that can't backfire. I wish for a turkey sandwich, on rye bread, with lettuce and mustard, and, I don't want any zombie turkeys, I don't want to turn into a turkey myself, and I don't want any other weird surprises. You got it?

[the monkey's paw closes its finger in understanding]

[a turkey sandwich materializes and Homer takes it.]

Homer: Hey! Not bad. Nice, hot mustard. Good bread. The turkey's a little dry.....The turkey's a little dry! Oh, foe, the cursed teeth! What demon from the depths of hell created thee! [H’s note: yet another line I will be using from now until October 31.]




#3 The Devil and Homer Simpson Flanders as the Devil. Daddy’s soul doughnut. Richard Nixon on the jury even though he was still alive at the time. Homer picking at his head. And Blackbeard the pirate, when forced to sit in a high-chair: “Aaarrrr. This chair be high says I!”




#2 The Raven – First off, you have one of the two greatest voices in Hollywood narrating; James Earl Jones. You have one of the scariest stories of all time, so there’s great material. And then there’s that idiot Homer chasing the stupid Raven around. I have to say, though; even though The Raven is creepy, I love Bart’s line when Homer opens the door in the story and sees nothing.

Bart: You know what would have been scarier than nothing?

Lisa: What?

Bart: Anything!


And the number one Simpsons Halloween Story of all time is….



#1 Time and Punishment – Four words explain it all: Homer fixes the toaster. This might be the single best seven minutes The Simpsons has ever had in one stretch. Homer fixes the toaster in his basement, but somehow screws it up and goes back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. There, he recalls the advice of his father who happened to bring up this very possibility. Abe reminds him not to touch anything, as the results can have catastrophic consequences in the future. Homer accidentally stops evolution and goes back to see endless horror; including Ned ruling the universe and giant Bart and Lisa. Each time he runs back downstairs and tries again, to an even worse fate. But the best is when he comes upstairs to find well-behaved kids all dressed up, ready to take the Lexus to Aunt Patty and Aunt Selma’s funeral. Homer smiles and asks for a doughnut, to which Marge replies, “What’s a doughnut? Screaming like a man who’s lost his soul, Homer runs back downstairs, only to miss it start to rain outside…raining doughnuts! A worthy number one all the way around.

October 13, 2005

Chalkboard Gags

One of the most beloved traditions of the Simpsons is tuning in for the beginning, since it’s often different. Of course there are the couch gags, but there’s also the oft’ overlooked Chalkboard gags. Sometimes the writers reference things going on right then. One I remember well was right after The Simpsons became eligible for Emmy consideration, and didn’t get nominated (they never have). Bart wrote “I will never win an Emmy.” During the Lewinski scandal Bart wrote both “No one cares what my definition of ‘is’ is” and “The ‘President did it’ is not an excuse.”

The chalkboard gag has quite often been a source of pop references or topical humor, like the following: “My homework was not stolen by a one-armed man;” “I can't see dead people;” “I was not touched "there" by an angel;” “This school does not need a ‘regime change’;” “SpongeBob is not a contraceptive;” “Everyone is tired of that Richard Gere story” (You know what Bart’s talking about)

Occasionally Bart or someone else has to write in the actual show, my favorite of which was when Bart stole all the Teachers’ Editions and then had to write “I will not expose the ignorance of the faculty”

Anyway, after taking out the topical references and wading through the all the others, the following are my top ten favorite Chalkboard Gags

#10 Sherri does not "got back"

#9 I do not have diplomatic immunity

#9 I will not carve gods

#8 I will not yell "She's Dead" during roll call

#7 There are plenty of businesses like show business

#6 Indian burns are not our cultural heritage

#5 I am not my long-lost twin

#4 I won't not use no double negatives

#3 I will not obey the voices in my head

#2 And the number one Chalkboard gag is….

#1 The Pledge of Allegiance does not end with Hail Satan

Up Next: Simpson Halloween Episodes

Reminder: I offered to write a Top Ten List to anyone who could get five people to visit or two people to sign up. So far not a single person has taken me up on this. Come on folks! I need you!!! (especially the hot ones)

October 12, 2005

Guest Characters

Over the years The Simpsons have had some memorable guest stars. I’m not talking about people who play themselves, although that might make a good list itself, but playing characters, ones we have come to love. Though I’d never claim this is a complete list, these are the top ten guests of the 180 or so I could find.

THE TOP TEN SIMPSONS GUEST CHARACTERS

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Taylor; Maggie – There have only been two official words spoken by Maggie on The Simpsons. One happened back when the yellow family was on The Tracy Ullman show. But then they did an episode about Maggie, a heart-tugger if there ever was one, and Maggie got to say her first word. (Do you remember what it was?) The producers could have had any of their talented cast voice the word, but realizing it was a momentous occasion they brought in Liz. Well done.

#10 Michelle Pfeiffer; Mindy Simmons – “Think unsexy thoughts…think unsexy thoughts…”

#9 Johnny Cash; Space Coyote – This weird wonderful episode wouldn’t have worked without the coyote spirit guide, who one moment dispensed Zen-like advice, and the next tried to gnaw on Homer’s leg.

#8 Spinal Tap – “We salute you, oh half-inflated devil lord….Oi.”

#7 Danny DeVito; Herb Powell – If Homer was going to have a brother, I’m glad he was voiced by Danny. I wish I had a brother like ‘Uncky Herb,’ ‘cause maybe then he’d give me a bird who was DRINKING THE WATER!

#6 Albert Brooks; Hank Scorpio – Brooks has done more characters than perhaps any guest, but Scorpio’s my favorite. I love how caring he was of his employees, but then how ruthless he was when taking over the world. I love how he gave Homer a choice between destroying Italy and France and then commented, “Nobody ever says Italy…” And, he got his own theme song!

#5 Jon Lovitz; Artie Ziff, et al – I also loved his director from “Streetcar,” but Artie stands on top, and I think this quote gets it right. “Marge, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell everyone about my ‘busy hands.’ Not for my sake, but I am so respected, it would damage the TOWN to hear it.”

#4 Glenn Close; Grandma Simpson – What a classy woman. My friend April told me once her favorite part was that it was Joe Namath’s wild hair that caused Grandma to go all hippie. I like that she was ornery but loving, sophisticated yet straight-forward. Glenn Close deserved an Emmy nomination for the gravitas she brought this woman.

#3 Joe Mantegna; Fat Tony – With apologies to Tony Soprano and Vito Corleone, Fat Tony is the greatest gangster in history. He’s violent, yet sensitive. A complete boss, yet nourishes his employees’ feelings. And, let’s not forget he’s a devotee of the lively arts!

#2 Kelsey Grammer; Side Show Bob – From the very beginning Side Show Bob Terwilliger won us over as the murderous criminal with more than a little touch of fey in him. One minute he could be fiendish in his plans to commit murder, while the next he could be talked into performing the entire score of “The H.M.S. Pinafore.” The Side Show Bob moments deserve their own list, but I’ll content myself by pointing out that no one ever made hitting a rake so funny.

and the number one Simpsons Guest Character….

#1 Phil Hartman; Troy McClure/Lionel Hutz – a little piece of The Simpsons died when Hartman left us. There simply never have been better characters than Lionel Hutz: Attorney at Law and Troy McClure (“You may remember me from such films as….”) My favorite Hutz quote was when Homer wanted to sue the Sea Captain for throwing him out of The Frying Dutchman before Homer had all he could eat, and Hutz said, “This is the most flagrant case of false advertising since my suit against THE NEVERENDING STORY.” As for McClure, I will ALWAYS remember him in such shows like The Simpsons.

October 11, 2005

Guest Simpsons List #4

Another has heeded my call to send in Simpsons Lists. I love those who have helped, and am truly grateful. Today we have the inestimable Sea Hag:


Honorable mention: Mr. Plow, Treehouse of Horror V, Bart Sells His Soul, 22 Short Films About Springfield, Homey the Clown, Homerpalooza, Summer of 4 Ft. 2, Sunday, Cruddy Sunday, Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo

10. Homer at the Bat: This episode is really quirky, but fun. I saw Darryl Strawberry in the Crown Room at LaGuardia in December, after just seeing this episode a few days earlier. It was rad.

9. Homer the Heretic: One day I will try the waffle recipe.

8. Trash of the Titans: One of 2 musical numbers I don't despise. Also totally priceless when the band plays the theme from "Sanford and Son" for the Sanitation Commissioner.

7. Marge vs. The Monorail: The other musical number I don't despise.

6. You Only Move Twice: Heh heh, cream and sugar.

5. Whacking Day: This has the memorable "remember when daddy hit the referee with the whiskey bottle?" "Yeah." "Yeah." quote that makes me think of darling Hyperion every time.***

4. The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson: "Crab juice!"

3.Bart on the Road: Every time my dad goes to Knoxville, he calls and tells me he's at the Sun Sphere.

2. Lisa's Wedding: So full of quotes: "I don't know if I should wear white. I mean...Millhouse." "Millhouse doesn't count!" Also highlights the love that Lisa has for her father.

1. Mother Simpson: This one is full of funny stuff (" I hate John Knowles." "Me, too.") but what really makes this one stand out is you get to see a sweet, vulnerable side of Homer that isn't steeped in his usual idiocy and general boneheaded-ness. This is the only episode of the Simpsons that actually made me cry, from Homer's anguished "Then why did she leave me?" to the end, where Homer watches his mother drive away. The credits roll and he's sitting on the hood of his car looking at the star-lit sky. And then I lose it.

*** [Hyperion’s note: I just watched “Whacking Day” last night. It is truly a classic episode. Ten minutes in I started writing down all the great moments: “It’s always the children’s fault isn’t it;” “What’s a battle?” Ninja Homer; The Fundamentalist school kids shaking their fists; “They should call it ‘Johnny Deformed;” “It’s part of our oh-so-human nature”…(cue Evil Homer dancing over Good Homer’s grave singing, “I am Evil Homer…” “Do you want me to whack slow, or fast?” The fickle crowd after Quimby snaps: “Give us hell, Quimby!” and on and on. ]

Up next: more Simpsons!

October 10, 2005

Made up Simpson Words

SIMPSONS WEEK RETURNS!

Wikipedia, the Internet Encyclopedia, credits The Simpsons with creating 89 distinct words or phrases. After pouring over the list, I have reluctantly narrowed down to the Top Ten and an honorable mention.

THE TOP TEN MADE UP SIMPSONS’ WORDS

Honorable Mention Boo-urns – This doesn’t really belong on the list, but I loves me some Hans Moleman, and must give a shout out!

#10 Kwyjibo – Bart uses this in Scrabble, and tells Homer it’s, “A big dumb balding North American Ape….with no chin.” Then he runs for it.

#9 Führerific – What Bart calls Hitler’s car. I include this mostly because I want you to use it in a sentence this week. “Hey, boss: that meeting was Führerific!” Keep a straight face and I bet you can get away with it.

#8 Diddley – I wonder what my 15 year old neighbor would say if I greeted her with “Hi-diddly-ho; neighborino!”

#7 Gamblor – That mythical creature with neon claws that enslaves people (especially Marge) and makes them gamble.

#6 Dorkus Malorkus – from the Latin, according to Bart. I am definitely going to call someone that this week. Maybe more than one person.

#5 Unpossible – in the words of Ralph Wiggum: “Me fail English? That’s unpossible!”

#4 Jebus – If anyone can every find me a “Save me Jebus!” tee-shirt, I will bear your children.

#3 Sacrilicious – This applies to any of the words Homer uses. This one here was when he ate a waffle off the ceiling he thought was actually God. One of my favorites was when Homer ate flavored fertility drugs and said, “Mmmm…..ovulicious.” I thought Homer should salivate over a Halls cough drop and say “Mmmm….mentholicious.” but I can’t get anyone to back me up.

#2 Yoink! – I love onomatapoeiaing words!

And the number one made up Simpson word…

#1 Edumacation/Tramapoline/Saxamaphone – I say we change the regular words and make Homer’s words the real ones. Who’s with me?




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