Life's our oyster and we're gonna suck that bitch down with a champagne chaser.

  • Behavioral Therapist
  • MA Developmental Psychology, Columbia
  • BS Psychobiology/ French, UCLA

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    by George R.R. Martin

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Saturday, July 19, 2008  
The Top Tens of 2007 & 1/2: Part 2
It's time to wrap up list-mania to make way for slightly more relevant and, dare I say, insightful entries. As explained in the previous post, my lack of a top ten list come 2008 inspired a top fifteen list of all of 2007 and half of 2008. We've already covered the best of film, according to yours truly, and it's now time to explore the worst on the big screen, the best on the small screen and the best to come on the big screen to round out the year.

Top Ten Fifteen Worst Movies of 2007.5


To start off this list, I shall do something never done before on this site and that is introduce a special guest writer, my dear Mary. Here is her glowing review of this film: (Spoilers Ahead)

The Hitcher was the worst movie I have ever and will ever see. The disgusting special effects, the fact that EVERY SINGLE character dies, and the fact that the plot focuses on one of the creepiest, most disgusting, and slimy psycho killers ever only starts to explain its stupidity. Seriously though, thinking about Boromir killing innocent people minding their own business on a nice little road trip in grizzly and demented ways is not what I pictured myself having nightmares about ever. Let me warn you, after watching this movie - if one can even call it that - you will never want to drive in your car ever again. You will never want to talk to any stranger ever again. And you will never want to vacation ever again. You wont even want to watch The Lord of the Rings. It's horrible. Please just take my word for it and spare yourself the trouble. Visiting a nice cupcake shop or volunteering at a homeless shelter - hey - staring at your ceiling would be a better investment of your time.


The only reason to see this movie, at least for me, was for Steve Carrell. Unfortunately, the script writers and director of this sap fest decided to leave the Steve Carrell we love from The Daily Show, The Office and The 40 Year Old Virgin behind and instead have an actor leading a movie that goes nowhere except to some sort of "morality" conclusion to a movie that had no laughs, or even smiles, to guide you along the way. God should smite whichever studio head who greenlit this or, better yet, smite herself for doing such a shitty job so far.


I actually don't remember anything about this movie and I think I'm better off for it. I believe it entailed Jim Carrey acting crazy, nuts and all messed up in a movie that thought it was really smart but ended up being really stupid. Could be billed as the aborted love-child of M. Night Shymalan pre-Lady in the Water and Uwe Boll. (Editor's Note: If you don't know who Uwe Boll is, Google him.)


This weird film experiment thing that was "Grindhouse" turned out 50% great with Planet Terror and 50% God-awful with Deathproof. Tarantino was on something, as usual I suppose, when he thought that watching Kurt Russell jibber-jabbering for extended periods of time, before getting to some gruesome murders in his deathbox in his car, would make for good entertainment. You see, Kurt Russell's character traps his victims in the passenger seat of his car in a box isolated from the driver's seat without any restraints, so when he crashes his car (deliberately) the victims are left to bounce around in the passenger seat, self-bludgeoning themselves on the dash and sides of the box. Just lovely filmmaking overall.


This movie looked ridiculous from the trailers, but the kind of ridiculous that could be enjoyable in a campy sort of way. Plus I like Clive Owen in pretty much everything he's in. Unfortunately, this movie is not fun because the actors seem to think that they are making a campy movie while making the film, which is the wrong way to approach films of this nature. Campy films, I believe, must be produced with the utmost sincerity so that the finished product, which is predictably lame, becomes enjoyable. But if the actors are aware of the crap from the start, that takes all of the fun out of it.


Hey writers, director and cast of both Fantastic Four films, The Punisher and X-Men: The Last Stand. Stop disgracing comic books by making these horrible, all-for-profit movies. Just look up movies like Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Dark Knight, Hellboy, X2: X-Men United etc. and see how filmmakers and actors take pride in the source material and invest some thought into the writing the characters and plotlines without box office returns as the sole motivation. Plus, Jessica Alba isn't hot. THERE I SAID IT!


Yet another sequel for sequel's sake. The studios will never learn to stop producing crap sequels if the public continues to the see these films. I am as guilty as anyone of this, but seriously, once Justin Timberlake was hired as the voice actor for "Artie," that should have been a warning sign. The first Shrek was fresh, Shrek 2 wasn't as good but had some fun new characters and Shrek the Third is just derivative and doesn't have the same appeal as the first two films. Pop culture jokes just aren't as funny anymore and grow stale after the initial viewing, or even before.


I think I speak for all 4 and 5 year olds when I say, "Are you fucking kidding me?" Yes you read correctly, they are on the thirteenth "Land Before Time" straight-to-DVD suckfest, two of which were released in 2007. With titles in the series thusfar ranging from The Big Freeze, The Great Longneck Migration and Invasion of the Tinysauruses, you would think they would have ran out of ideas already or that Littlefoot, Cera and Petrie would have died already. The first Land Before Time was and is one of my favorite movies ever, so stop shitting on my childhood Universal Home Video.


This was a late addition to the list, and a worthy one at that. If you feel like watching the exact same assasination, explosions, reaction shots, quick pans and zooms 4 times in a row from different "vantage points" then please see this movie. If you also like predicting the big twist 5 minutes into the movie, then please move this to the top of your queue right away. Otherwise, go rent seasons 1 and 2 of 24 because they pretty much have the same plot lines and are way more entertaining. Plus, sorry Dennis Quaid, but Bauer > Barnes.


This list is chock-full (what's a chock?) of stupid movies that I thought would be entertaining but ended up being the opposite. But honestly, this film had potential. A bunch of monsters fly through a mist and start killing people so people hide in a grocery store. Drama arises amongst the people in the store but eventually (Spoilers Ahead) a group of 4 people, including the main protaganist played by Thomas Jane, his new found romance interest, her child and two elderly people, escape from the store in a jeep. They drive away, armed with only one gun, and eventually come to a point where they are surrounded by the monsters and the mist. Having seen the gruesome manners in which their friends and compatriots have been torn apart by these beasts, they elect to each commit suicide. The elderly man and woman, the mother, HER CHILD, but guess what, not enough bullets for Thomas Jane. So he exits the vehicle and starts yelling at the monsters. But guess what? The army has just arrived and is busy killing all the monsters, which the people in the jeep were not able to see due to THE FUCKING MIST. End credits roll. I'm all for non-Hollywoodian endings, but give me a break.


I have not seen this film, nor do I plan to. Why not? Let me count the ways: I would feel like a dirty old man, I think the promotion of thongs to children 10 and under (plus or minus two) is nasty and I would feel like I would be aiding in the ushering in of the apocalypse should this film be promoted in any way. Someone should call the producers of the toy line (which now includes Bratz Babies), TV show and movie and let them know that everyone knows what they mean by Bratz is actually Whorez.

4. 300

The trailer rocked my socks. The art style of the film is amazing. The battles are spectacular. Pretty much everything about this movie was bathed in video game vibes and testosterone. However, due to the number of times I heard in the audience at the midnight screening of this movie, "KILL THOSE FUCKING PERSIANS," I feel like I would be doing my ancestry and disservice by liking this film (as well as my number one movie of the last 1.5 years.)


I made a point of reading the book before seeing the movie and though I enjoyed the book, except for the draining ending, the movie was a disaster. Although I did love all the sequences with the young Afghani kids who were amazing and I did admire the lead actor for learning Dari to play the part of Amir. However, his accent was so glaringly bad that I couldn't take one second that he was on screen seriously. It was like the last short film in Paris Je t'Aime where the American tourist is in Paris speaking French with a terrible accent. It was cute, as it was meant to be, but everyone knew her accent was terrible. They dumbed down the ending, for good reason, which made the whole last 30 minutes rushed. And the CGI kites? Was that really necessarry? Unless the kites are Transformers, I don't think there need to be computer generated kite fights.


So here's what this movie is about: Jodie Foster is dating Sayid from Lost in New York City and they are like so totally happy, but then you'll never guess what happens! Sayid gets viciously beaten and murdered by drug addicts while on a walk with Jodie in Central Park. Also, Jodie, who has been severely beaten as well is forced to watch, along with the audience, the murder of her boyfriend. The heroine addicts also manage to capture all of this on film. So after a stint in the hospital, Jodie goes and buys a gun and KILLS EVERY MINORITY GROUP IN MANHATTAN. You see, the title of the film is about Jodie and she's brave because she brings her gun everywhere and shoots any gangbanger she can find cause she's sad about Sayid dying. At some point she took kickboxing classes of some sort. And OMFG you'll never guess what else happens! A police detective becomes suspicious of Jodie's vigilanteism and starts investigating her. Oh and Jodie, before becoming brave, was a radio talk show host and the detective investigating her was a huge fan of hers. So as with every other movie on this list, if this act in sadistic movie making appeals to you, please shoot it to the top of your queue. Oh and did I mention that I'm moving to god damn New York so naturally this movie makes me feel a lot better about that.


Now, I shouldn't take forms of entertainment that seriously, I shouldn't invest so much time into them and I shouldn't be personally hurt by any movie or TV show, unless it directly insults my mother or something. But when a movie that I and so many other geeks were so looking forward to for months and months comes out and blatantly spits in the face of all those who know the stories and are open-minded to character arc and plot changes, I cannot help but feel betrayed. The black suit storyline? Tarnished. The Venom storyline? Destroyed. Emo Peter Parker? Vomitational. I like to think of myself as a good critic of movies and television but when 4 of the top 10 most anticipated movies of 2007 end up on the worst list of that same year, it is disheartening. And the fact that upon reading the very same post from last year I find that I said the exact same thing about movies making the transition from most anticipated to most hated is even more disheartening.

I don't want to break this up into yet another post so I shall continue the pop culture fest with yet another list.

Top Fifteen TV Shows of 2007.5


I know, this damn show again, but dammit the Fans vs. Favorites season was the best one since season 1. Parvati is my BFF.


A show on the CW making the top 15? Surely I must be joking. I'm not and here's why: it's an original, funny, entertaining piece of television. Sam's parents sold his soul to the devil when they were having trouble conceiving so now that Sam is of age, he works for the devil as a soul reaper for escaped demons. It's hilarious and had a nice cliffhanger finale. Netflix it when it's released on DVD.


I'm pretty sure that if you watch this show, you automatically learn how to become a little cooler. It's a spy show set in Miami with a cast that oozes slick. Season two just premiered on USA so have a gander.


This is one of the weirdest shows ever and I know a lot of people have seen the music videos on YouTube but the show itself is hilarious. It has quotable quotes galore and Murray the agent who isn't even in the music videos.

Jemaine: Are you and Lisa gonna get married now?
Bret: I wish, but I don't know. She's got to go to war.
Jemaine: What?
Bret: Yeah, Iraq.
Jemaine: Iraq?
Bret: Yeah.
Jemaine: Lisa?
Bret: Yes, she's in Delta Force. She's been deployed to Fallujah.
Jemaine: But she works in the croissant shop.
Bret: Yeah well, she's got two jobs. She's a pastry chef and a sniper.

I never thought I'd enjoy watching a show about a rich, spoiled family, given all the bad examples we have today, each of whom have a show on E!, but watching Nate from Six Feet Under play family lawyer for the Darlings of Manhattan is endlessly entertaining. Season one was cut short by the writer's strike but season two is set to premiere in the fall.

10. 30 ROCK

Season one of this show wasn't stellar in my opinion but season two really brought the funny. When the more absurd situations began to take precedent over normal ones, it won me over. Tracey trying to create the porno video game easily one of the funniest TV moments of the last year.


Last season was admittedly not as great as it has been in the past and was not Emmy-nomination worthy but this show, along with Burn Notice, makes you feel cooler just by watching it. Repeating that phrase after the Burn Notice review, I now realize, makes me sound like a giant doofus, but I'm telling you, it's true.


The Botwins, and their supporting cast, might have left Agrestic and certain cast members may not be around anymore, but when you can make running drugs across the border and gang beatings consistently funny, you've got something going for you.


We were led to believe that the last season was the final season of Larry David's annoy-every-one in Brentwood documentary when he divorced Cheryl and married into the Black family, but apparently there's another season coming. Fire up that tuba and ukeleley infused theme song again.


The critically acclaimed football show not about football that no one watches. I promise, for those not inducted, this show is barely about football. While some of the teen drama got on my nerves at times and the whole murder plot made me anxious, Coach Taylor is one of the most sympathetic characters on any show. It shall return for season three.


This is the show that revived the pronounced dead old sitcom format. Barney, played by Emmy-nominated Neil Patrick Harris, is my favorite chracter on the TV right now.

Ted: [Discussing with the Group about his Girlfriend Cathy]
Barney: Ted, let me tell you a little story about a young lady I wanted to have sex with, Lucilia. On a white sand beach in Rio de Janiero, we made love for ten straight hours. When we were done, she applauded, and told me that I was far far better than the best lover she could possibly imagine, and that I had restored her faith in god.
Ted: What does this have to do with Cathy?
Barney: Who's Cathy?

By now, everyone has heard of the ending to the series finale of this show. Like everyone else watching , I was like,"Wtf mate" and then I laughed and nodded knowingly. It was really off the wall but it made sense. The show that made it seem cool to be a mobster and then immediately erased that by depicting it as a terrible way of life ended just as it should have. Every moment in a mobster's life is filled with anxiety about if and when you're gonna get whacked. It could be tomorrow, next year, around the next street corner. That was the ending to the show, a giant question mark just like Tony Soprano was going to continue living, or dying for that matter. Don't stop believin'.


I love sympathizing and rooting for a serial killer. This show encourages it and rewards it even with the huge payoffs not only at the end of the last two seasons but really after each episode. The audience convinces themselves that Dexter is justified in his killings even though we probably don't really think it's the right thing to do. Plus, Dexter is dating Deb, his sister on the show, in real life. Creepy!


Every time I've watched the final moments of the season 3 finale, I've gotten chills. "We have to go back!" Season four entails a lot of screwing with the audience's mind and getting off the island. We find out who gets off the island , how they get off the island, who's in the coffin, how you can move an entire island and the Desmond love story is resolved, which made me quite happy because I was worried for him. We still don't know what the deal is with Locke on the island post-rescue but bring on season 6 months! This will keep your minds occupied however.


Did you have any doubt in your mind that any show would overtake the deserved number one spot? Seeing the season finale in the Cinerama Dome with Starbuck, Number Six and President Roslin sitting a few rows over was amazing but what actually happens in that one episode is enough to merit all the accolades it deserves. Forget the stigma attached to the title of the show. It has drama, action, romance, suspense and sci-fi all rolled into one stellar package.


A monstrously long post is about to get a wee bit longer with the final list.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies for the Rest of 2008

10. HAMLET 2 - August 22nd

9. RELIGULOUS - October 3rd

8. MAX PAYNE - October 17th


6. ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO - October 31st




2. QUANTUM OF SOLACE - November 7th

1. THE DARK KNIGHT - In Wide Release

That about rounds it out for the last year and a half. Most of the anticipated movies of the next 6 months will be seen in Manhattan, which is a strange thought for me. I hope I have a better track record with keeping my most hyped movies of this year off of next year's worst list. My self-centered side, which oddly comprises both sides, thinks of myself as an entertainment guru, the one to turn to when lost in the pop culture fog that is film and television. Hopefully my exceedingly comprehensive lists are of any aid to my beloved audience. If nothing else, it's a comfort to think that all the hours spent on these things at least serves to exercise my typing muscles.

9:58 PM


Wednesday, July 09, 2008  
The Top Tens of 2007 & 1/2: Part 1
As adoring fans of this website, I'm sure that come January 2008 you all were wondering where my top 10 lists of 2007 were. Well, the truth is, I forgot about them and when I remembered it was already March and it seemed silly to publish them then. In order to set this snaffoo right, I have decided to revolutionize the way annual top ten lists are made in a completely unrevolutionary kind of way: I shall add five spots to each list thus creating the top fifteens of 2007 and 1/2, that is top fifteens of all of 2007 plus one half of 2008. I know, you guys, I know. Too much to take in all at once, but here it goes.

Top Ten Fifteen Movies of 2007.5

15. ONCE

So I'm not a big fan of musicals, in fact I hate the vast majority of them, but I very much enjoyed this one. Why? Because the characters sing for a reason. No extravagant singing in the street amidst huge set pieces and random pedestrians breaking out into a dance number. The two lead characters sing in context and very well, for that matter.


I know what you're thinking, but you know what? I love you, but I don't give a damn. This movie rocked my socks. Sure it was about 40 minutes too long and I hate Shia LeBoeuf post-"Even Stevens" but it was a blast from beginning to end. TRANSFORM AND ROLL OUT!


This movie jerks you around...a lot. You can't trust anyone you see on screen except maybe the main character but it doesn't matter. And the ending? You will question your own moral convictions and standards after seeing the end of this movie. Heavy, painful but beautifully done.


This is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen, hands down. Sure Michael Moore distends the facts on occasion for cinematic purposes but the gist of the film as well as the evidence behind it remains. An LA Times article from Sunday talks about how insurance companies refuse to pay for therapy for Autistic children because they don't deem it "necessary" despite mounds of research that says otherwise. The system is broken and has been for a while. Change is on the horizon, buddha-willing.


Roeper, of Ebert and Roeper, did oversell this by saying it's one of the funniest movies of all time but it truly is another gem from the Judd Apatow factory. As Gene Shalit might say, "Don't forget to bring your funny bone to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Not laughing at this movie, forget about it!"


I was originally excited to see this movie when I received it from Netflix because I love mob movies, not because I love Colin Farrell. In reality, I had to watch this movie twice in one night to truly appreciate it. Of course, I didn't set out to do this but one thing led to another and I did it anyway. It's dark, funny and kinda makes want to visit Bruges and kind of doesn't want me to go there ever.


The summary of this movie sounds like a tear-jerk fest for 2 hours but it's the opposite. Sure it's a sad premise but it is a truly uplifting, moving story. It's a testament to the potential of the human mind and the fact that it's based on a true story kind of gives hope to the human race where everything else in the world says otherwise.


I know, another foreign flick, and on top of that, a German one! What am I thinking? Well get past the annoying language, and that happens quick, the story captivates you and again, much like Diving Bell, gives credence to the survival of the human race.


I have to be honest, I didn't understand what was going on part of the time in this movie but what I did understand was fascinating. We get a lot of "lawyer" movies these days but this one is unique and is one of those "thinker" movies. Even if the actual plot wasn't so great, the acting by the three leads are all stellar.


Can anyone say "KICKASS MOVIE?" Because if you are, you must be referring to these two movies because that is what it is what they are. Those who have known me for longer than 30 seconds know I'm a comic book geek but I was never really into the lore of Iron Man or the Hulk which is why this movie is so great for geeks and non-geeks alike. I don't know how that logic pans out, but whatever, If you haven't seen it, do it and stay after the credits for Iron Man. Oh and why both at spot 6? Because these movies, and the upcoming Marvel films (see Captian America, Thor and ultimately The Avengers) all take place in the same universe, regardless of the studio distributing them, which makes it awesome. It's like Buffy and Angel or Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Marvel is slowly taking over the entertainment world.


If someone has never seen an action movie, a thriller or a spy movie, I would recommend any and/or all of the movies in the Bourne series. The third film in the trilogy brings the story together and is a ton of fun without being too muddled down in stunts and fight scenes, which it still delivers on nonetheless. The priority of the these films has been characters, plot and action and that's why they have succeeded.


I'd like to say that I only added this to the list because I love saying, "I! DRINK! YOUR! MILK SHAKE!!" But this movie has one of the best acting performances I have ever seen as a genuinely creepy but engaging character. This is one of the most quotable Oscar-nominated films in a while but see this for the performance of Daniel Day Lewis and then learn all of the quotes. "I'VE ABANDONED MY CHILD!!! I'VE ABANDONED MY BOOOOOY!!!"


I have now seen this movie about 5 times over 2 years and 2 continents and it never gets old. For those who don't know, it's composed of a series of "vignettes" or short films which take place in Paris, each of which is directed by a different celebrated filmmaker with different characters and subject matters. Some are much better than others and I absolutely hate one of them (hint: it has to do with hair and dancing) but it is one of the most charming films of the last few years.


This, along with 40 Year Old Virgin and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, are my favorite comedies of all time. Judd Apatow can do no wrong in my book. He's crass without being too gross, consistently funny and has characters you actually care about. Sure he doesn't always write the greatest female parts, but whatever, I like them.


Now I am a comic book geek and this movie is based on comic books (well, graphic novels) but you shall find no radioactive spiders nor gamma rays in this movie. The movie tracks the story of a girl from childhood to adulthood, from the Iranian Revolution to present day. It has a unique animation style and tells an amazing story by an incredible author.

Ok I was going to make a monster top ten of everything post but I've decided to maximize productivity of this website I shall postpone the Top Fifteen Worst Films of 2007.5, Top Fifteen TV Show of 2007.5 and the Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 1/2 of 2008.

Stay tuned, true believers.

12:34 AM


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