Sunday, June 15, 2008


I've liked Weezer for a long time and I've enjoyed their transitions from the Blue Album, to the Green Album, and now to the Red Album, their latest. They seem to be able to seemless integrate new sounds and influences into a distinctly unique sound that is still Weezer. This album is more different than most of their other album maturations but it is still a decided Weezer album. When I get back to my apartment and buy a bunch of CD's this has got to go to the top. Almost as much for curiosity's sake as much as it is that I want to listen to the album. If that makes much sense.

The first single, Pork and Beans is pretty good - containing an even greater than usual amount of pop culture references among Rivers' lyrics and unexpected Weezer rifts (that are now paradoxically expected). It has a great sound but more importantly it has a really cool music video that seems to touch on a lot of the major viral experiences of the last few years. The video is fun and seems to lend even more heart to a song that already has the normal endearing feel of Weezer's usual songs.

Another song I really liked is "Heart Songs" which is already receiving a bunch of fan buzz. For a Weezer ballad it seems to stand out to me for a reason that I can't quite put my finger on yet. But it is worth checking out for sure. Clicking that link will take you to a youtube link with just the audio really which is also a place where you can listen to the whole album essentially. Before you buy the album of course.

Too Many Dresses

27 Dresses - Anne Fletcher - 2006 - 4/10

It’s never good to start anything on the defensive, but I have to say I saw this movie on an airplane, so give me some slack.


The summary goes like this: that old HILLARIOUS phrase “always a bridesmaid never a bride” applies to our main character Jane (Katherine Heigl)! No way. But she does have this guy she’s crazy about, her boss, George (Ed Burns). But he’s just fallen for her super hot, super slutty sister Tess (Talin Akerman). No way. But since Jane is such an expert wedding planner she agrees to plan her sister’s wedding to her dream guy. Oh my God. Along the way she meets this guy who is falling all over himself to ask her out (James Marsden) but she keeps refusing, only relenting when she needs to vent about her sad marriage woes. But then as he starts to make her laugh and integrate himself into her life it turns out that he’s really this super sexy wedding-beat reporter whose writing Jane loves! No way! (Stiffles yawn). Make your own conclusions, most of which probably do not require seeing the movie, or after this summary, any of the preview.


I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like I’m being pulled in all directions. On one hand my mom really liked it so I know it’s a chic flick that I’m obviously biased against. On another hand I think, as a chic flick, the movie was good at what it was. BUT the chic flicks Achilles heal – unoriginality and cliché cluttering comes out in strong force here. We’ve got the “best friend,” “the perfect guy,” “the perfect sister” (I love how a woman like Heigl is supposed to be jealous of Akerman, I mean really, they’re both freaking knock outs) and everything else. Nromally I wouldn’t dwell on the clichés so much but it really sucks a lot out of the movie, especially when Marsden looks like he’s actually acting without his Cyclops goggles for a change and Heigl is ALMOST likeable. One other glaring thing that popped into my head is that bosses like George don’t have assistants like Katherine Heigl for years on end and not sleep with them. I mean, that’s why they hire them! And he hasn’t noticed her? Or realized she worships him? Come on. I hate movies that can’t respect the viewer because we’re “stupid” or “fickle” and need to be force fed this crap.

Oh well. This review has left me feeling widely unfulfilled and like I poored out a nonsensical rant but hey, its just another rom-com chic flick.

Indiana Jones and the Disappointing Cracked Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Steven Spielberg - 2008 - 4/10

I cant quite figure out if writing this review is really even close to worth it. I had enough Indiana Jones type hurdles of my own that stood in the way of me finally posting this: writing SaltyStix articles, studying for a test, general laziness…lots of things. But I decided that per Spielberg and Lucas’ dues ex machina of Indy, I had to find some unnatural power to finish the review.

The first thing that comes to mind is that the film was soo disappointing it was almost sad. I felt like crying. Sure I knew what Lucas does to sacred trilogies (defiles them) but I thought Spielberg’s directing and another writer would balance old George out. FALSE. Instead the movie is full of Lucas’ overindulgence – unnecessary special effects. While this movie just has monkeys to compare to Jar Jar, it still makes me wince – especially because the first movies did not seem to be cluttered with Lucas’ ILM crap. Jar Jar was annoying but by the end of the trilogy you saw the point of him – what was the need to swing from the vines? Or survive a nuclear blast?

Perhaps the movie was doomed from the start with the absence of Denholm Elliot (who unfortunately passed away in 1992) and Sean Connery (who stubbornly maintained he was ‘retired’). To fill the gaping hole of Elliot’s Dr. Marcus Brody the film inserts another character designed for comic relief: Ray Winstone. Winstone’s character is supposed to have this deep relationship with Indy which is supposed to yield deep humor as well as clever plot twists but fails in both because he is just too brand spanking new to the franchise. To make up for the comedy of Connery-Ford they try for Ford-LeBeuf and almost succeed but LeBeuf’s character is just so ridiculous.

The largest problem for me is more conceptual in that the movie moved away from the religious occult (the arch, pagan religions, and the grail) and into well, something else. Maybe they needed a new frontier and I understand that what they chose was based on 50’s era pulp-themed movies that they loved. I get that. It still sucked. The religious occult had a different feel to it as well as more history and more lore that gives an ephemeral feel. What we’re left with here seems forced and feels like you’re watching bad Sci-Fi reruns again. Chalk up that the “puzzles” and “clues” as well as the “answers” are dangerously close to modern pretenders like National Treasure and the like, and Indy quickly loses his mystique.

What helped saved the movie was Karen Allen’s character. I hope that isn’t really a spoiler because she IS in the movie. Once she hit the screen the Indy charm and humor seemed to replace the old-tired-act Harrison was sleepwalking through. Combined with the action in the last hour, the last half really shapes up to be pretty good. I will say that the story timeline liberties Spielberg and Lucas pulled a long time ago damaged the franchise here. Not many know that Temple of Doom was made as a prequel to Raiders which was then followed by Last Crusade. So events that happened in Raiders, say, socially, are not that far removed from Crystal Skull.

The best thing Spielberg and Lucas did was pay homage to the first part of the series with references to Raiders in the opening scene and good throwbacks to the value of Indy’s hat from nuclear explosions to chapels including some scenes that might have people thinking if “Mutt Williams” is going to take over the franchise.

I’ll close with the three things this movie needed to be really good – to give Last Crusade a run for it’s money. First, a younger Harrison Ford – which was quite possible if it hadn’t been for Lucas’ constant screen revisions and stubborn refusal to accept earlier story send ups – we’re talking a good seven to ten years here – Air Force One Harrison Ford instead of, well, Crystal Skull Harrison Ford. Second, the appearance of Sean Connery – which again, was possible if the film had been made earlier. It is curious that Connery’s part – supposedly a small cameo is SO small that Connery must have really thought the script was crap. Third, no CGI bullshit – this would probably have changed the whole opening scene and made the film a hell of a lot better. Maybe given us a classic intro where Indy is in the field looking for some treasure and bam! Cate Blanchett swoops in. But alas, no such luck.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Another month

I just got back from Europe and my head is chalk full of things I'll never get to blog about - basically detailing all of my adventurous exploits, commentary on the obama/clinton/2008 mess, and lots of other things that suddenly are not coming to me.

About books - all the ones I read toward the end of second semester that I thought would help me start posting book reviews here (mostly classics I never read in high school) or the ones I read on my trip (mostly Cormac McCarthy's The Road).

About all the gelatto I ate in Europe - my rankings of the cities (1. Rome, 2. Florence, 3. Trier, 4. Meersburg, 5. Lindau, 6. Venice, 7. Bregenz, 8. Munich, 9. Gindelwald, 10. Lux City, 11. Paris, 12. Kaysberg (Alsace), 13. Sion, 14. Zurmat

But I will start blogging again since its summer for whatever its worth.
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