March 30, 2006

Sitcom Questions to Divide your Office

Are you not having fun in the office today? Would you like to practically shut down all activity, just to see grown men and women arguing with each other like there is a war or a fetus involved? Do I have the ticket for you.

Below I have 6 questions taken from Sitcoms, guaranteed to waste time, mostly because people will disagree, and they will disagree with venom. (Incidentally, this also works as a great way of chatting up the opposite sex. Take note, nerds.)

Without further ado....

THE TOP SITCOM QUESTIONS TO DIVIDE YOUR OFFICE AND GIVE YOU THE MORNING OFF



#6 Did Raymond end up marrying his mother? Some will say yes, others will defend Debra as the exact opposite. (Bonus Question: which parent is worse: Marie or Frank?)


#5 Which Brady Bunch combo was most like to hook up later in life. (Can go both the actors, which we already know happened, and the characters. Remember; they were just step-siblings.)

#4 M*A*S*H Cast changes: Rolling Right Along or Downward Spiral? (This question will hinge on Frank Burns. Trust me. Bonus Question: what was better the movie or the TV show?)


#3 Were Ross and Rachel on a break? (Don't be shocked if this divides completely on gender lines.)


#2 Which of the three side characters were the best? (You might get fist fights over this. For added fun, include Jerry in the mix. Throw those who say "Newman" out.)

and the number one way to divide the office....


#1 Ginger or Mary Ann? (You'll find women have more of an opinion on this than men, who would gladly take either of them. However, if the women complain, feel free to throw the Professor, Gilligan, the Skipper and Mr. Howell in a separate question.)


Let the Holy Wars begin

March 28, 2006

Best of the '90s (#5 part 2)

Concluded from yesterday, we continue our look at the top movies of 1998, with 6-1.




#6 AMERICAN HISTORY X - This movie was so close to being perfect, except for some fuzzy editing and too much attempt to "explain" things. Still, for what it is, what a forceful film! Major credit to everyone involved for really putting themselves out there on the edge. The movie is about a Skinhead trying to go legit, and pulls no punches showing us that world, so be prepared. But you need to be shaken up a little bit. This is a good movie to wake you up.


#5 LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL - When I saw Roberto Benigni jumping on heads to accept his Oscar I was turned off and vowed not to watch. Oh, I am so glad I did. Set in Italy, the story tells us of a clown in love. He woos an Italian girl winning her over with his simple silly ways. When the War comes, because of he Jewish heritage Benigni and the couple's young son are carted off to a concentration camp. To save his child from the horror of it all this clown convinces his boy it's all a game they must win. Much is made of this second part, but if he didn't win you over at first you wouldn't go along for the ride. In Italian with subtitles, but do not let that stop you.


#4 ELIZABETH - When I think that Gwyneth Paltrow won Best Actress over Cate Blanchett I get angry. Cate gives an amazing performance here as Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen. We explore the world of 16th Century England, which was rife with danger, and where the desperation was never far from the surface. Despite the nearly fatal casting of Joseph Fiennes, ELIZABETH crackles with intrigue, sex and murder. Quite the good time.


#3 OUT OF SIGHT - Simply put, George Clooney has never been better, and Jennifer Lopez is so good that you realize she could be a real movie star with the right scripts. He's a bank robber, she's a Federal Marshal. Oh yeah: she just be in love with him. Based on Elmore Leonard's novel, OUT OF SIGHT is brimming with humor, quirky characters, and a great sensibility that offsets the menace of the criminal world. You can hardly find a sexier more fun picture to watch.


#2 THE BUTCHER BOY - Along with Schindler, the most emotionally devastating film of the '90s. About a boy who really never had a chance. This IS NOT an easy film to watch, but movie lovers owe it to themselves to see perfect cinema in action. The ending is as heart-breaking as it is predictable, but no less emotionally shattering for all that. Sometimes the reward of a difficult film is that we are better for having watched it, and no more can that be said than here.

and the number one film of 1998.....


#1 SAVING PRIVATE RYAN - The Oscars' biggest travesty since CITIZEN KANE didn't win. How do you give the fluff piece SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE--which I did enjoy, so I'm not hating--over such monumental work as PRIVATE RYAN? One of the top five war movies of all time and the second best movie of the decade. But I'll quit talking about the awards it didn't win and instead talk about the majesty that is SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. It starts off with an opening 25 minutes that rank as high as any opening in movie history. There's just nothing like it. We continue on with the Allies on a mission they don't really believe in, to find and rescue one single soldier in the midst of all that chaos. Spielberg uses conventional Archetypes of the characters; familiar stereotypes of a thousand war flicks, to make us comfortable, and then throws the conventions on their head. SPR was one of the first war films to really get at just how difficult war is without glorifying the protagonists. Yes, they sometimes murder the enemy, and you see why that happens, and can't judge them for it. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is a difficult movie to watch, but an absolutely essential one. If you were only going to watch one movie from 1998, this would HAVE to be it.

March 27, 2006

Best of the '90s (#5)

1998 was a strange year for movies. For the first half of the frame, theatres were dominated by a film that actually came out the year before: TITANIC. But '98 had a lot of great movies in their own right. Though hardly top ten fare, I thoroughly enjoyed such fluffy popcorn flicks like ARMAGEDDON, MASK OF ZORRO, ENEMY OF THE STATE and RUSH HOUR.

There was other "less serious" work that was good to the point of great, and in another year might have made the top ten, movies like: THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, RONIN, PLEASANTVILLE, A BUG'S LIFE, BULWORTH and THE NEGOTIATOR.

There was even one terrible film that I probably saw more than any of the others, and don't hesitate to recommend it to friends: WILD THINGS.

(Of course, there was the bad too, as Worst Picture would be a contest between GODZILLA and VERY BAD THINGS.)

Then there were the films that I just didn't get to, that quite possibly would have made the top ten list (and feel free to send me your review if you've seen any of them): AFFLICTION, GODS AND MONSTERS, A SIMPLE PLAN, BELOVED, THE THIN RED LINE, and DARK CITY.

And while Laureate agrees with most of my list, he swears that LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS should be included as well.

Even with all that, I could only cut my top ten to 11. There were just too many films that needed to be acknowledged; films you need to see. These flms are for the most part not designed for mass appeal, but any fan of filmdom should see them. Remember, that's why I'm doing all of this.

With that in mind:

THE TOP 11 FILMS OF 1998 (11-7)



#11 THE TRUMAN SHOW - I assume most of you have seen this, so I won't waste my time with description, other than to say that TRUMAN predates much of our Big-Brother obsession with reality TV. In fact, I think we'll see this one day. (Who knows: maybe it's already happening to me.) Jim Carrey gives his best performance of his life; simply robbed of an Oscar nomination. If for some reason you haven't seen TRUMAN, make it a rental.


#10 ROUNDERS - I know most of you aren't intersted in Poker (as I am), but I think the wonderfulness of the film still comes across. About a man (played by Matt Damon), who has his whole life ahead of him, but just can't get the jones of Poker out of his system. Overcoming the near-fatal casting of Gretchen Mol, ROUNDERS snaps and crackles with great side characters to support Damon's stellar work, including Edward Norton, John Malkovich and Martin Landau. I only rank it this low because of the genre style, which has limited appeal.


#9 THE SPANISH PRISONER - Someday I'm going to write an entire Movie column on the genius that is David Mamet. This is possibly his best "con" film, a con within a con within a con. I got my entire family to watch it, and they all enjoyed the rhythms of speech as much as I. (That's why you see a Mamet film, not for the plot, but for the dialogue.) That said, PRISONER has a terrific plot, so smooth that one half hour after the last scene (where the big con is resolved), I realized Mamet had pulled one over on the audience. THE REAL CON TAKES PLACE AFTER THE MOVIE IS OVER!! Brilliant.


#8 RUSHMORE - Along with WILD THINGS, one of my two favorite films of the year. Max Fischer (played by Jason Schwartzman) is a out-of-place young man, who's only goal is to go to Rushmore Academy as long as possible. He falls in love with a teacher, and turns to local rich guy Herman Blume (Bill Murray) to help. Sadly, Herman also is in love, and the war begins. I first found out about the director Wes Anderson with BOTTLE ROCKET, and he also made THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS. RUSHMORE is superior to either, but if you've seen one you'll know whether this appeals to you. The film is very funny, but also quite sad at times. Some people can't handle that. They're idiots.


#7 MULAN - I think this is my favorite Disney film of all time, and it just goes to show you how strong a year 1998 is. MULAN has Eddie Murphy as Mushu, and it's as good as Robin Williams, in a more limited capacity. MULAN also features the best bad guy in Disney History. (Have we done that list? We should.) The songs are fun, the animation great...best yet, I got my two friends together by making them watch this movie.

Up next: the top 6

March 21, 2006

TV Nerds

For no reason at all I thought that today we would look at fictional nerds (TV only). And because I don't want to insult you, I'm not actually going to write their names down; you know them, and if you don't, what kind of nerd are you?

THE TOP TEN TV NERDS

#10

#9


#8


#7


#6


#5


#4


#3


#2


and the number one TV Nerd is......

#1

March 17, 2006

Cartoon Theme Songs

Continuing from yesterday, I have before you the top ten Cartoon theme songs (that you can sing along to). Except, I couldn't narrow it to ten. So, in honor of the NCAA tournament, I got it down to 16. You'll notice the Gummi Bears and ThunderCats didn't make it; that's because they suck. Honorable Mention goes to Freakazoid, Dark Wing Duck, George of the Jungle, Woody Woodpecker, Spongebob, Fat Albert, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Rescue Rangers, Jetsons and Tale Spin.

To make things even more interesting, I'm not listing what each number is. Instead, you can figire it out from my comment, or just listen (in which case the comment will make more sense)


#16
this is an audio post - click to play Everybody ready to stare?
#15
this is an audio post - click to play
You ought to hear the remixes...
#14
this is an audio post - click to play I hated his hair cut
#13
this is an audio post - click to play I thought Cleo was hot
#12
this is an audio post - click to play Who knew he was Jewish?
#11
this is an audio post - click to play I wonder what my reward would be?

#10
this is an audio post - click to play But how did they all get there?
#9
this is an audio post - click to play Those bandanas meant something; I just know it
#8
this is an audio post - click to play Archie Bunker would be proud...

#7
this is an audio post - click to play Now you know....
#6
this is an audio post - click to play This is my life
#5
this is an audio post - click to play Woo-Ooh!
#4
this is an audio post - click to play I used to be addicted to the vitamins
#3
this is an audio post - click to play The best part was how the song changed each time
#2
this is an audio post - click to play That sinister voice was so sexy....

And the #1 Cartoon Theme song of all time

#1
this is an audio post - click to play Could there be any doubt?

And now, to say goodbye....

this is an audio post - click to play

March 16, 2006

Cartoon Theme Songs - Instrumental

I'll let the cat out of the bag early: tomorrow's big Top Ten list was going to be on Cartoon Theme Songs, AND, it was going to be audio. However, listenting to the nearly 100 candidates, I realized I had to break it up some, or I'd never be able to do a top ten list.

So, getting an early jump, today I have the top Instrumental Cartoon themes. But before we get there, I thought I'd throw a sop to girls. You have to feel sorry for girls; their cartoons pretty much sucked. For example: She-Ra was pretty cool, until you realized she was an exact He-Man clone, except for breasts.
[I apologize in advance for the sound. It was nearly impossible to find the tracks, they they had to play out of my crappy speakers into a phone, and then through a server and your speakers...]

Anyway, the following are the Five Least-Awful Theme songs in Cartoons for Girls

#5 My Little Pony - I loathed this show, but if I don't put it on I'll have angry sisters
this is an audio post - click to play

#4 Strawberry Shortcake - Too bad we can't eat her
this is an audio post - click to play

#3 Shirt Tales - I actually liked this one okay, but the theme song still sucks
this is an audio post - click to play

#2 Rainbow Brite - Though he'll heatedly deny it, I once caught my brother Achmed watching this show. For real.
this is an audio post - click to play

#1 Jem - When it comes right down to it, she is truly amazing.
this is an audio post - click to play



now the Top Five Cartoon Themes (Instrumental)

Honorable Mention: Ren and Stimpy, Johnny Quest, Futurama

#5 Batman - This sounds like The Matrix. I wonder if they copied?
this is an audio post - click to play


#4 King of the Hill - Very underrated theme. Should play this at weddings
this is an audio post - click to play

#3 Tom and Jerry - I hated Jerry
this is an audio post - click to play

#2 The Simpsons - I too am shocked this isn't #1. I should put the Itchy and Scratchy theme here too. Sigh. Maybe a week of Simpsons' songs
this is an audio post - click to play

and the #1 Cartoon Theme (Instrumental) of all time is.....

#1 Loony Toons - When it comes right down to it, this is the best classical music in 40 years
this is an audio post - click to play

Up Tomorrow: the biggies: Cartoon songs you can sing to!




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