Archive for: May, 2010

Parks and Recreation | Season Two

My original synopsis of Parks and Recreation was “government shenanigans in a park”. Does a senator soliciting sex in a park bathroom count as “shenanigans”?  I bet if you got caught with a prostitute in a park and the police started chasing you it would be handy to have a little iPod with the Benny Hill music queued up. Guess a guy looking for hookers in a park isn’t thinking about props for a comedy bit, though.

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is a sweetly naive bureaucrat with a love of local government. Nick Offerman plays her breakfast-loving supervisor Ron Swanson. I was going to write that Aziz Ansari’s character Tom Haverford is a “loveable sleaze” but once again, my powers of description have failed me because portly wheelchair-bound pornographer Larry Flynt is a loveable sleaze, not Aziz Ansari. I guess he’s more of a lusty schemer. What the hell? Apparently I am trying to writing a community theater play set in a brothel, with these character descriptions.

How cute is Aubrey Plaza’s character April? Unfortunately, you can’t date a TV show character, no matter how long you hold your TV up in a lightning storm and hope you get zapped into the television like Captain N. Even if you did get magically transported into a television show, what if it was the wrong one? You’re trying to end up in HBO’s True Blood so you can kiss a vampire and next thing you know you’re in Law & Order Special Victims Unit getting sexually assaulted.  I’ll keep my TV in the living room, thanks, and my dimensional portals closed.

Maybe I also have a crush on the actress Aubrey Plaza, come to think of it. She was pretty beguiling (thanks thesaurus!) in the movie Funny People.  Hope my girlfriend doesn’t mind all this crush talk. I never got that thing where two people who are dating give each other a pass if they get a chance to have sex with a celebrity. Celebrities aren’t gossamer angels with healing sex powers. A famous person is no different than you or I, except they have a golden ticket to have sex with your significant other if you’re an idiot blinded by fame.

So if a famous person tries to seduce you- say, “No Thanks! I’m with somebody, Angelina Jolie! Stay back, Morgan Freeman, I’m monogamous!  Keep it in your pants, James McAvoy!” Oh wait, that’s just the cast of Wanted. Feel free to sleep with them.

Seriously, though, Parks and Recreation is an excellent well-written comedy with a strong ensemble cast and you’d be remiss to not watch it. You’d think I could have skipped all that celebrity sex stuff and just twittered that sentence, but here we are, two ships in the night, me reviewing a television show, you reading about it, and Morgan Freeman out there somewhere in the darkness, trying to hit on your girlfriend.

Community | Season One

Well, it looks like Community has found a strong audience in its first year. In fact, the last time I saw someone get this excited about something with Community in the title was at the Hamburglar’s trial when he got community service instead of jail time for manslaughter and non-specific hamburger crimes.

A lot of people thought Joel McHale couldn’t make the transition from The Soup to a more traditionally formatted sitcom. A lot of people thought Chevy Chase would never be in a successful comedy at all for the rest of his days. A lot of people look like little bitches now.

According to Wikipedia, which is legally bound to never lie to you even if you ask if it got to second base at summer camp with any cute boys, a “Doubting Thomas” is a term that is used to describe someone who will refuse to believe something without direct, physical, personal evidence; a skeptic. Turns out it’s from the Biblical account of Thomas the Apostle, who didn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. “Let me see those wounds, Jesus!” he said.

Well, all you doubting Thomas-es can STFU as far as Community is concerned, because it has um…shown you its…er..wounds…I guess this analogy is falling apart before my very eyes, just like the prosecuting attorney’s case in Pickle Mustard v. Hamburglar.

Speaking of lawyers, Joel McHale plays Jeff Winger, a lawyer who has to go to community college because he faked his law degree and got caught. He becomes best friends with his Spanish study group. The theme song sounds like a commercial for a ladies shoe sale at Target. Makes me want to put on a sundress and save 15% on a pair of flip flops. Oh- and, speaking of flip flops, I’m wearing a two dollar pair on the beach right now and just taking the time to tell you to go watch Community in the middle of my vacation is like stopping heart surgery to tell someone to go have a crush on a hot girl that likes Star Wars.

Today I rode a boogie board with a dolphin wearing sunglasses on it in the ocean. You know who else wears sunglasses? Joel Mchale. Go watch Community, it’s like riding a dolphin wearing sunglasses.

Halo 3: ODST

Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, and Alan Tudyk did voice work for this game. That’s great! I love it when actors from my favorite canceled show get together in the same room to work on another project. Like there’s a possibility that Joss Whedon might crash into the studio Kool-Aid Man style and say “Oh YEAHHH Firefly’s back on let’s make some EPISODES!!!” Then he punches Master Chief in the heart through his space Marine armor. I guess Master Chief was mixing sound that day in the studio. Who’s cranking the treble now, bitch?

It’s the 26th century and the events of Halo 3 haven’t even happened yet. This game is a little side story to Halo 2, which I never played and don’t know anything about. It has a jazz soundtrack, which is good. Space marines and saxophones- like on a poster you win at a county fair dart game. I once won a poster of a bikini lady standing in front of an open refrigerator door when I was eleven. I had it hung on my wall for about an hour before I took it down from embarrassment.

You’re a rookie dropped in the African city of New Mombasa. What happened to your squad? You don’t know. Aliens from the Covenant are trying to kill you. What’s the Covenant? An alliance of hostile alien races. Any sexy aliens? No. It’s a gathering of ugly monsters with shiny guns, like a tea party at Dick Cheney’s house. Who is still making Dick Cheney jokes in the year 2010? Me!

I bet Halo 3 might as well be Disney Sing It on the Wii as far as Dick Cheney is concerned. He’s all like,”Yahh! More blood! Where’s the gore? Bigger guns! War! War! It’s my turn to sing Jonas Brothers!”

My favorite guns were the grunt shot and the beam rifle because you could snipe your enemies from far away with laser beams. My favorite thing to do in a Halo game is crawl up in some big piece of machinery and knock out all the enemies inside and then blow it up from the inside. Makes me feel like a man.

SPOILER ALERT

Come to find out the whole mission is to protect a big intelligent floating jellyfish loaded up with data. One time I went to Pensacola Beach and there were so many jellyfish in the water that little bits of jellyfish were floating around so you got stung no matter what. I ended up drinking in the sun under a wet towel all afternoon. One girl got stung by a jellyfish on her leg and her boyfriend took her into an alley behind a hotel and peed on her. Because that’s a home remedy for jellyfish stings, not because he was into it. I mean, maybe he was into it. I wasn’t there.

Just so you know, the best way to actually alleviate the pain of a jellyfish sting is with saltwater, fresh water and urine will only irritate it further. Also, if Dick Cheney pees on you in an alley behind a hotel, it is because he lurks in hotel alleys waiting for out-of-town Democrats taking shortcuts to the Whole Foods. If he jumps out at you just yell, “Halliburton!”

Diary of the Dead

You know who keeps a diary of the dead? Skully Skeleton, the mossy skeleton from a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean highlighted in the Wonder Boys and The Lovely Bones reviews. And what a scandalous diary it is! I could make a joke about how he dishes on who is “boning” who, but I’m not some purveyor of cheap jokes and Skully is certainly no gossip. If you must know, he writes about the length of his ribcage and his skeleton dreams, where he lives in a big skull palace.

George Romero saw YouTube and said I wonder what would happen if zombies plus YouTube happened. So he made a movie about it. A group of college kids is making a bad horror movie and then the radio reports come in. Get ready to download something to your pants because zombies are here. The little auteurs pack their camera equipment in an RV and drive around the countryside running over zombies and filming each other having nervous breakdowns.

Somehow the internet is still working in zombie world, so they download zombie videos and video chat with each other. I guess they probably tweet on twitter, too. Every time Skully Skeleton tweets, it’s because a bird flew into his skull and can’t figure how to get out.

One of the college students films all the time no matter what even when his friends are getting chomped on by zombies, because he’s so committed to documenting everything. If I was him I would have strapped the camera and a bunch of guns to a wheelchair or a cart with wheels on it. Or maybe a shoulder camera harness so you can have a gun in each hand. Problem solved, now you can kill zombies and film everything.

But no, this dummy holds a bulky video camera to his face the whole time. Most pocket sized digital cameras record HD video these days, but this budding James Cameron had to go with the biggest camera he could get his hands on. This isn’t your dumb friend trying to jump on the roof from a trampoline or a girl in her underwear dancing to Lil Wayne. This is a bunch of living corpses! Take a few pictures with your iPhone, put it on Flickr and live to see another day.

SPOILERS AHEAD

A zombie chows down on Lil’ Federico Fellini while he (you guessed it) is running down a dark hallway trying to film shit with his whale of a camera. He might as well have been using a camera from the 1800’s with the bellows on the front. I say, you zombies hold still while I stand under this dark cloth and compose your image. Then it’s off to the penny arcade for all the malted brains we can eat. Our waistcoat buttons will be stretched to popping!

Oh, Skully Skeleton! You’re just in time, me and these zombies were going for malts and diversions. A performance of readings from your diary? I’d love to attend! One adult, three zombies and one skeleton for “The Skull Palace”, please!

Red Faction: Guerrilla

Imagine my disappointment when I realized this wasn’t Red Fraction Gorilla, the game about a math loving primate. He drives the Geometry Bus, wears a fedora and has red fur. Just don’t mention mathematician Georg Cantor if you want to keep both of your arms attached to your torso.

In Red Faction: Guerrilla, engineer Alec Mason shows up on Mars ready to start a job with his brother. Unfortunately, Mars is occupied by the Earth Defense Force (EDF), a bunch of military jerks with fences and tanks. Before you can say 2 bananas minus 1 banana leaves 1 banana, the EDF kills Mason’s brother right in front of him, leaving him one sad banana.

He joins the Red Faction insurgency to take Mars back from the EDF. Yeah, give me back my unforgiving dust planet! I want to live here and taste minerals in my food all the time!

Mason has a sledgehammer, demolitions and a Nano Forge gun that vaporizes enemies into a cloud of golden dust. Also, like most freedom fighters, a jet pack. His jet pack flying style is unhurried, almost delicate, as though he were descending from the skylight of the Governor’s Mansion for a formal dinner. If Mary Poppins used proximity mines and rocket launchers to liberate a mining planet, that’s how she’d fly.

By the way- patent pending on that formal dinner jet pack.

This game was surprisingly hard in some places, just like a certain crimson gorilla who gets nervous erections when he encounters difficult algebra problems. A lot of times I’d find myself walking into laser tank fire when I should have hidden behind a rock. The game got a lot easier once I had the enemy-vaporizing Nano Forge gun.

The last time I saw that many people get vaporized was at a sketchy rave in the year 2000. For those of you who did not attend raves in the year 2000, it was common to inhale Vicks VapoRub to enhance the effects of Ecstasy.  I wouldn’t go running out to buy Ecstasy and a bottle of VapoRub if I were you, though. Please- save the soothing vaporizing effects of Vicks for when you have the flu, not for when you are sucking on a glowing pacifier like a big dumb baby in a drug induced state of chemical bliss.

Once at a rave a guy sitting on a metal chair in a hallway had a woman sitting on his lap and that woman had another woman sitting on HER lap. It was like a Jenga tower of off-putting flesh. “Hey! You want to join my party?” he asked. I guess he wanted me to sit on the third woman’s lap at the top of the sex tower like a Christmas angel. Maybe he meant for me to squeeze in the middle.

Either way, what an optimist! I’d love to press my body against your bodies in this hot sweaty warehouse environment with only a sad looking chair to support our collective weight! I am sure none of you are harbingers of any sex diseases, what with all the indiscriminate rave sex.

Anyway, grandkids, if you are reading this in the future, that’s how I met your grandmother.

Iron Man 2

This review contains spoilers.

So Iron Man is back. The government wants him to give up his Iron Man suit, but he doesn’t want to do it. A senator says, “Give me that suit!” but Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) says NO WAY. Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is a Russian who hates Iron Man but he’s also a tough bad-ass physicist with tattoos and gold teeth. He makes his own Iron Man Arc Reactor to power his energy whips. What’s with the whips? Iron Man is not a lion. He is not a horse you want to giddyup or an orphan you want to pick pockets for you. He is a man made of iron.

Vanko shows up at the Monaco Grand Prix. Tony Stark puts himself in the race at the last minute, replacing the driver of the car he owns. Vanko is disguised as a pit crew member so he can walk out on the track and whip cars with his electricity whips. Wait- he didn’t know Tony Stark was going to be driving in that race, was he just there to whip cars for fun? Did Iron Man just sort of fall in his lap? As far as he knew, Tony Stark would be sitting in the stands. Why even bother disguising yourself as a pit crew member? Just buy a ticket to the race, walk over to Tony Stark and then whip him in the face. Uh oh, I think another song is coming on….

Just buy a ticket to the race/Whip Iron Man in the face/Uh…something something keep your daughters chaste…

Iron Man turns into a drunk and throws an awesome party. He shoots a watermelon with an energy beam. I did that at a farmer’s market once. They kicked me out, but not before I could shoplift some nutmeg and organic vegetables. Then I vaporized a basket of cage-free eggs. Nope, me and my laser are not welcome at the farmer’s market. Meanwhile Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) steals an Iron Man suit while Stark is busy being a drunk.

Iron Man turns his company over to his assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). I guess all the speakers in the elevators will play Coldplay now. Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) is Iron Man’s secretary. But really, she’s Black Widow, a Russian secret agent working for S.H.I.E.L.D.. How to put this delicately, her backside is amazing. How does one compliment a woman’s behind without sounding like a dirty old man? I suppose it’s never appropriate in a public setting like a movie review. There needs to be a gentleman’s guide to backside compliments or something. “Madam, had I a hat I’d tip it directly at your posterior.” That seems like a quick way to go to jail, walking around taking off your hat for ladies’ bottoms.

Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is a rival weapons manufacturer who wants in on the tin man action so he hires Ivan Vanko to build him a bunch of iron man drones. Vanko breaks into Hammer’s computer network in seconds by tapping at some keys. Tap tap tap, give me your secrets computer. What did he type that was so incredible a computer gave him access to the company network moments after he got online? Login: IAMACLICHE Password: COMPUTERSNEVERWORKLIKETHIS.

Rhodes loads up the Iron Man suit he took with all kinds of guns and rockets and he and Iron Man fight Vanko next to a river. Vanko nearly bests them with the lashes of his whips, but they defeat whiplash with plastic neck braces and a case brought against the other driver involved in the fender bender in small claims court. The court decides in their favor! They are interviewed leaving the courtroom by The People’s Court host and court reporter Doug Llewelyn.

If you’re Iron Man and someone files a lawsuit against you and you’re convinced you’ve done nothing wrong, don’t be intimidated. The best policy is to go to court and stand up for your rights. Don’t take the law into your own hands: you take ’em to court!

Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake

It’s the future, civilization is over with! A hermit named Snowman is one of the last humans around, living in a tree and wearing a baseball cap. Snowman is a guardian/religious figure to the Children of Crake, genetically engineered humanoid creatures designed to be physically flawless. Also, their private parts and butts turn blue when they want to mate, like if a DVD of Avatar could get horny.

Snowman reminisces about when he used to be a boy named Jimmy, before all of mankind was wiped out. Jimmy and his genius friend Glenn (nicknamed Crake) lived in corporate science compounds separated from the pleeblands, aka the dirty crime ridden cities where everyone else lives. Take that, normal people- you don’t know shit about science so you have to live in squalor!

Jimmy’s dad was a bio-engineer crossing pigs with other pigs so he can make the best of the pigs, a pig to rule over all the other pigs, even the ones who wear pants. The pigs he makes are mean, though. He also develops rakunks, raccoons mixed with skunks. They’re cuter than a baby animal zoo crossed with a bag of Earl Grey tea. See, here’s the thing scientists; instead of making vicious pig monsters just so you can get an extra spare rib, you need to be making cute animal hybrids that WON’T bring about the fall of man.

Jimmy’s mom feels guilty about ethical science violations so she runs away and goes from being a scientist mom to a freedom fighter/revolutionary insurgent mom who sends postcards from mysterious locations. My mom is a nurse, so she never did much freedom fighting. She did design and build an outdoor aviary to house finches and parakeets, though. If any of those birds had started a corrupt global corporation or dabbled in questionable genetic splicing techniques I’m sure my mom would have put a stop to it.

Jimmy and Crake get high and surf the internet of the future. According to this book, the internet is going to be full of naked people reading the news, websites of horrific death videos and terrible pornography of all types. So they’re going to tone it down a bit in the future as far as the internet is concerned, apparently.

They see an eight year old girl (Oryx) on one of those websites and become fascinated with her. Crake tracks her down as an adult and hires her to help him build his own race of humans from the ground up. Crake hires Jimmy, too. Jimmy and Oryx fall in love even though Crake is dating Oryx. A love triangle and a scientist playing God. This should go smoothly.

SPOILER ALERT

Oh no! Things did not go smoothly! Crake sneaks a deadly virus into the birth control to wipe out humanity. He kills Oryx right in front of Jimmy then asks him to take care of the Children of Crake. If you want a favor from someone, don’t kill the love of their life right before you ask for it. Don’t even maim the love of their life. Try flowers.

Jimmy does Crake a solid, though, and keeps an eye on the Crakers; though to be fair his calender was wide open after the fall of civilization.

When I first heard about Oryx and Crake I didn’t know what the story was going to be, so I envisioned two rakish detectives, Oryx and Crake, gadding about in space getting in duels with aliens and drinking Scotch in grimy cantinas. Another case solved by Oryx and Crake, Esq. LLC. Inc.!

I say old bean that Moon Centipede nearly severed our neatly trimmed mustaches with its 3G network enabled razor sharp claws, good thing we had our laser proof iPads. And so on and so on. Damn, now I’m just inventing steampunk characters, and not very original ones, either. You know what I think it is? I saw this Sherlock Holmes-in-the-future cartoon in Netflix where Watson was an android and Sherlock Holmes was cloned back to life from his body preserved in a honey filled coffin.

“Honey filled coffin” sounds like a euphemism for condoms. And that’s the review, folks, goodnight!

An Education

Peter Sarsgaard’s chest hair looks like a thundercloud with a lightning bolt coming out of it. So if he ever enters a bare chested men’s fighting club he’s got his nickname covered: Thunder Chest. Oh, here comes Thunder Chest, look out bare chested men of action! Wow, this is starting to sound seedy.

Sixteen year old British schoolgirl Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan) is waiting on the bus in the rain and handsome older stranger David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard) pulls up in a car and says hey nice cello get in! And she does. He’s not the murdering kind of older stranger, though, he’s the take young girls to jazz clubs and Paris kind of older stranger.

David steals art from old ladies and moves black families into apartments near other old ladies to scare them so their apartments are sold for dirt cheap. He’s built a whole old lady crime economy. If I was going to build an old lady crime economy I’d make the old ladies do the crime for me. The Old Lady Crime Club, I’d call it.

Once, my great-grandmother got in a minor accident with another old lady in their enormous cars and they hung out in the parking lot for a solid hour chatting it up long after the policeman had left. “Oh, you know Claudine Stephens gave me the recipe for that cake two weeks ago and her grandson works in computers and makes very good money; he and his family moved next door to the old mill-works where my cousin had her wedding and don’t you know she just broke her arm hitting a raccoon with a rolling pin- I got that same rolling pin on sale at Piggly Wiggly, you know the one over on Davis St. by the Pearce house where all those bare chested men have their fighting club…”

I’d have to send the old lady criminals on separate missions or they’d end up chatting on the museum roof, black ski masks pulled up, stolen priceless diamond forgotten, trading pound cake recipes.

Alfred Molina plays Jenny’s father. I was really impressed back when he played Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2. I think it’s great when a superhero or villain is pudgy or looks out of shape but they can still kick ass. Granted, his power was derived from his relentless clamping metal octopus arms, but the man beat the shit out of Spider-Man and looked like all he ate was pizza rolls. My superhero name would be Fatty Breadsticks. Right now it’s just my poker name, but if I ever get my hands on some superhero abilities, you better believe Fatty Breadsticks will take to the skies.

Oh right, the movie. Turns out sixteen year old girls shouldn’t date adult men. Don’t do it, girls. It never ever ever works out. Take it from Fatty Breadsticks, the paunchy advice giving superhero. Breadsticks AWAY!

The Lovely Bones

Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is a 14 year old girl who has a camera, a bike, a hat that her mom made for her (just like Jayne in the Firefly episode “The Message” if you’re into canceled science fiction shows, which I am) and a Saturday mall date with a smooth talking poet in a turtleneck.

Unbeknownst to her, she lives next door to serial killer George Harvey (Stanley Tucci). I don’t know why everyone is so surprised he loves to murder, he’s got the murderer’s mustache, murderer’s glasses and murderer’s light tan jacket combo going. Plus he lives alone and builds dollhouses.

George builds a hole in the middle of a cornfield and somehow convinces Susie to crawl down a ladder into it at dusk. To be fair, you just can’t keep a teenage girl out of a dimly lit grave-like hole dug in the middle of a lonely field. Didn’t Seventeen just come out with their bi-monthly “Guide to Pits in Desolate Fields” issue?

Well, crawling down into an ominous hole a creepy stranger dug and is nervously trying to get her to explore doesn’t work out so great and Susie gets serial killed. She ends up in the afterlife between Heaven and Earth which looks a lot like how I imagine the virtual world Second Life would look if you died and went there, except nobody is trying to charge you 1000 Linden dollars to have sexy chat with a human-fox lady.

While she’s hanging around in the hereafter Susie meets the other girls that George Harvey murdered. Is that really how the transit system to heaven works? All aboard to heaven! Hope you like getting reminded of how you were killed on the trip. I think the last person I’d want to see in the afterlife is all the other people that died the same way I did.

Also, how do all those murdered girls know that the white light they’re heading into is heaven? It might be a trap! They might be skipping giddily along into serial killer heaven for all they know. Just because you’re in a magical field with roses blooming under icy lakes, fancy dresses any time you want and a happy little dog pulling you around on a bobsled in a winter wonderland doesn’t mean it’s safe. In fact isn’t that how you got lured to your horrible deaths in the first place, with promises of awesome things?

You know, speaking of lovely bones, Skully Skeleton (the skeleton from a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean I mentioned in my review of Wonder Boys) won “Best in Skull” at this year’s Skeleton Ball held at the world’s biggest graveyard.

SPOILER ALERT

Just so I’m clear on this, the serial killer murders all he wants, hides the evidence successfully and then gets killed by a freak icicle accident in his late middle age? Sounds to me like the final score is serial killer 1, victims 0. That murderer really slam dunked all that murdering he wanted to do. He’s like the Babe Ruth of serial killers.

That’s what Babe Ruth was famous for, right? His slam dunk? “Slam one for the Gipper!” he’d yell from the back of his baseball horse, golden rays of sunlight illuminating his long golden hair. I heard that people sometimes play basketball while they ride around on donkeys, but I hate to ask about this “donkey basketball” because if it turns out to be just a turn of phrase and there are no donkeys I’ll be disappointed. I wonder how they get donkeys onto a basketball court. Probably the old carrot and stick. Here’s a t-shirt design I did of a space travelling donkey:

space donkey

THE END