Friday, March 26, 2010

"See? Billy Idol gets it.": nine '80s movies made after the '80s

The much-hyped and awesomely-titled Hot Tub Time Machine hits theaters today. When I first heard about it, I just grinned a little. As the marketing ramped up, though, the trailers and TV spots got progressively funnier. I'm hoping to catch the flick this weekend, but if I can't, I can always pop one of these Me Decade-set movies into my VCR.

The Wedding Singer: Of all the '80s-set movies filmed in the decades that came afterwards, this one is the most blatant "Hey, it's the '80s!" of the lot. But it's still pretty charming, so I give it a pass.

Wet Hot American Summer: This hilarious homage to the once popular summer camp sex comedy genre really nails the look and feel of 1981. Did I mention it's hilarious?

American Psycho: Not only do you get a mindfrick of a serial killer movie, but you also get a treatise on the importance of Huey Lewis!

The House of the Devil: If you didn't know better, you'd think that this "Satanic Panic" film was a product of the VHS age. Director Ti West really got the look and feel of '80s horror films down here.

24 Hour Party People: Though it doesn't take place entirely in the '80s, we needed a movie that documented Factory Records and the Madchester scene. Luckily, we got a damn fine one.

Miracle: The excitement! The glory! The plaid pants!

The Lives of Others: Man, communism must've really sucked.

Watchmen: In an alternate universe 1985, Nixon's still president, costumed vigilantes are outlawed, and we're on the verge of nuclear war. But at least there are copious amounts of big, blue dong.

New Jack City: Remember Crack? And Judd Nelson?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Requiem for a power pop genius

R.I.P. Alex Chilton, 1950-2010.

"September Gurls" is a pop classic.


Though they weren't one of my absolute all-time favorites, much like Paul Westerberg, I never travel far without a little Big Star.

Oh, what a tangled web: 13 of my favorite spider things

My beloved Richmond Spiders had a stellar season and were rewarded with a March Madness at large bid on Sunday. The mighty No. 7 seed takes on the fearsome Saint Mary's Gaels this afternoon. To commemorate this historic meeting of a couple of basketball powerhouses, I present 13 of my favorite non-UR related (more or less) Spider things:

The Cure - "Lullaby": "The spiderman is having me for dinner tonight!" This single from Disintegration (along with three others, collected to form the Integration set) has the distinction of being the first CD that I ever purchased. Man, what a great album.

Spider-man: Back in my comic collecting days, Spider-man was the cornerstone of my reading. I eagerly consumed The Amazing Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spider-Man, and any other cross-over titles Peter Parker appeared in each month. If collecting hadn't gotten so damn expensive, I would probably still buy the Spidey's funny books today.

Spider-man 2: Quite simply, one of the best comic book movies ever made. No offense, Ghost Rider.

My tattoo: Yes, I love my alma mater so much that in 2003 while on law school spring break in New Orleans I got a spider and crest tattoo on my leg. I'm so bad-ass.

Wacky Wall Walkers: Sure, after about 15 minutes they'd be covered in lint and carpet fuzz, but they sure were fun to play with in the meantime. (Octopus, spider, whatever. It had a bunch of legs.)

The Giant Spider Invasion: This ranks among my favorite episodes of "Mystery Science Theater 3000", in large part because of the copious amounts of jokes at the expense of Midwestern rednecks. The sight of what looks like a parade float run amuck terrorizing a small town is a real howler. (Watch it here.)

No Doubt - "Spiderwebs": The best song No Doubt ever recorded? Yes. And I shred on it in Rock Band.

Shelob: It may not be the best scene in the epic Lord of the Rings saga, but hey, it's got a freakin' giant spider in it.

WebCrawler: Ah, nostalgia for those internet boom days, when my life held so much promise.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: "Ziggy Stardust" and "Suffragette City". 'Nuff said.

Katie Melua - "Spider's Web": I like her and this song. Sue me.

Halloween: Though not solely dedicated to spiders, the most wonderful time of the year feels odd if it isn't covered in spider webs.

Kevin Smith's Superman movie story: In which a producer mandated that he put a giant mechanical spider in the film. Hilarious.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shamrocks and shenanigans

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It's that one day a year when Lucky Charms taste extra magically delicious. Go out and knock a few back, but don't party too hard.

On my docket: Rather than fight my way through an overcrowded bar and buy round after round of ridiculously marked up drinks, I bought a shiny new bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey to consume after work. I'll pour some hooch out for the last episode of "Scrubs". And Flight of the Conchords just released their third song to the Rock Band Network, so I'm going to have my own party. It's business time.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So long, Newbie, Chocolate Bear, Barbie, Tasty Coma Wife, et al.

Farewell, "Scrubs". Though the show just wasn't quite the same when it entered its med student-centric iteration, it was still pretty funny. At least the gang at Sacred Heart will seemingly live on forever in syndication.

Requiem for a gladiator film aficionado

R.I.P. Peter Graves, 1926-2010.

I wonder if he had the chicken or the fish. Though he'll be best remembered for Airplane! and "Mission: Impossible", I'll also never forget his performances in such Mystery Science Theater 3000 staples as Parts: The Clonus Horror and It Conquered the World, as well as Phil Harman's hilarious impersonation of him ("Welcome to the world of Discover!").

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Playin' at the auto show. Hop a ride. Here we go.

I have driven the future. Or at least the now.

The above will no doubt drive my pappy to drinkin'.

Yesterday, through the kindness of the fine folks at Ford, I attended the Motor Trend Virginia International Auto Show and got to test drive a 2010 Lincoln MKS. Let me tell you, it was one sweet ride. Though, admittedly, anything would be compared to my decrepit Jetta. But the MKS was really smooth, cruising Richmond's side streets like a pat of butter oozing down a short stack. Mmmm...pancakes. Damn this low carbohydrate diet!

But I digress. In addition to offering a nice drive, it's also loaded with amenities, like blind spot mirrors, a back-up camera, heated/cooling seats, and a driver's seat that automatically reclines when one is ready to exit the vehicle. But I was most impressed with the SYNC system.

Micah-tested, George Lucas-approved.

The SYNC system allows you to control several things with your voice: music, phone, GPS, climate, traffic information, audible text messages and on and on. It really was impressive what Ford did there. Now, I'm not really one to multitask when driving, given the obvious dangers, but this new technology takes a lot of the risk out of doing those activities while on the road. Unfortunately, ladies, it will not apply your make up. Maybe they will offer a patch for that sometime in the future.

Not pictured: optional piƱata add-on

Though I didn't get to drive it, the 2011 Ford Fiesta was on display at the show. Getting up to 40 mpg for just a shade over $13,000, I have a feeling that this car will be pretty popular. Heck, I may get one when Der Jetta dies.

A belated tie-in with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

But it wasn't just Ford at the show. Also there was Mini Cooper. I've always liked these and, if money were no object, would probably get one just to tool around town in.

Almost as rugged as a Canyonero.

And I've been pining over Toyota's FJ Cruiser for years now, but have let those dreams fall by the wayside as of late. I was delighted to find out that now offer it in green! It's about time.

Now let's see what we can do about welding those doors shut.

All in all, it was a fun time to spend an afternoon, despite the lack of the General Lee, Batmobile, or Hitler's Death Car.

For another, more in-depth take on the show, see this post by my colleague spydrz.

Song to get you through the weekend: "Koochy" by Armand van Helden


Because after attending the Virginia International Auto Show, choosing Gary Numan's "Cars" would've been too obvious. I also posted this because it reminds me of my DJ days. Tucked away in storage is a milk crate with this 12" single in it. One of these days I'll dust off my turntables and reclaim my position at the top of the club house party bedroom DJ scene.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

"And the Oscar goes to...'Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus'!"

It's Oscar time! I usually don't go for awards shows, but I always kinda dig the Annual Hollywood Circle Jerk. This year I'm expecting it to be more entertaining than usual since Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are co-hosting (and given material by some "30 Rock" writers). So why don't we have a good, old fashioned live blog/chat? Post your thoughts, feelings, and fears about the ceremony, winners, losers, and snubs in the comments section.

Now, as much as I dig the Big Show, I have zero interest in gowns, red carpets, and Ryan Seacrests. So in the meantime, I'm going to watch Dumb and Dumber on TBS, try my hand at some newly-downloaded Rock Band Network tracks (Flogging Molly! Stroke 9!), and consume a bacon-wrapped filet mignon. And then pour myself a tumbler of McClelland's Islay in time for kick off.

I know the big question that's on everyone's minds is Who is Micah wearing? Well, my pajama pants are by Nautica, my Ohio State t-shirt is by Nike, and my slippers are by Dearfoams. I feel like the belle of the ball!

During the lulls in conversation here (naw, that'll NEVER happen!), I'll be checking out the live blogs/Tweets by Doug Benson, the A.V. Club, and whoever else interesting and funny that I stumble upon. Know any good ones?

Let the bitchfest commence!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Song to get you through the weekend: "Moon River" by Morrissey


I went to a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" themed cocktail party last night (thanks and happy birthday, Melody!), so of course this song has been stuck in my head.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bonus Crush of the Week: Anna Semenovich

This week's Bonus Crush is Russian former figure skater and current pop singer/actress/model Anna Semenovich*. Yowza!

How about a song?


I miss the Winter Olympics.

*Or, if you can read Russian (*cough*SBN1*cough*), go here.

Crush of the Week: S.E. Cupp

This week's Crush is columnist/author/pundit S.E. Cupp, who keeps a pretty funny online diary over at the Daily Caller.

Yep, she's got it all.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

"And I let the bullet flyyyyyyyyyyyy": five Peter Gabriel songs I'd sing if I were on "American Idol"

This week saw the domestic release of Scratch My Back, Peter Gabriel's album of well-chosen covers. Though I dig it, so far it's received mixed reviews. But then, Gabriel is one of my all-time favorite artists AND I'm a sucker for a good reinterpretation of another's work. It's virtually impossible for me not to enjoy the album.

I'm also vaguely aware of a television program called "American Idol". I don't watch the show, as it's just not my thing. With the exception of Christina Aguilera (in small doses), I just can't take the one-hand-on-the-ear "oversinging" style that so many contestants adopt. Not that I can sing myself. My many attempts to do so on Rock Band have made that abundantly clear. But pretend for a second that I do have actual singing talent, the will to endure the Byzantine auditioning process, and an actual interest in this glorified karaoke contest. Here are the five Peter Gabriel songs that I'd choose to cover on the show:

1. "Sledgehammer": Well, this being a mainstream TV show, you've got to go with the hits. It was either this or "In Your Eyes". As much as I'd like to unleash my inner Lloyd Dobler, the uptempo, double entendre-filled number gets the edge. Ladies, commence swooning.

2. "Family Snapshot": As we all know, the very definition of an "American Idol" crowd-pleaser is a song about the assassination of a political figure. And would you look at that? Gabriel has a multi-part one about the killing of George Wallace. There won't be a dry eye in the house.

3. "Intruder": Just to creep the audience out.

4. "Moribund the Burgermeister": An odd little theatrical song from back when Gabriel wore his prog rock roots on his sleeve, this has always been one of my favorite songs of his. If I could manage to replicate Gabriel's sweet moves, I'd surely win the crowd over.

5. "Come Talk to Me": Culled from an album about relationships, Peter Gabriel wrote this about the growing gulf between he and his daughter. I'd much rather belt this tune out than something like "Butterfly Kisses". I think Simon would appreciate that.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Quick movie reviews

Shutter Island: It's best to go into this Scorsese film blind, so to reveal too much beyond the fact that it's about a U.S. Marshal investigating a missing person case at an asylum for the criminally insane would be doing you a disservice. Just know it's very tense psychological thriller with some great performances. Definitely worth seeing.

Avatar: The good: the 3D visuals are really eye-popping. The meh-to-bad: pretty much everything else (predictable story, serviceable acting, wooden dialogue, broad characters, heavy-handed message). It's sure pretty to look at, but strip away the candy-colored gimmick and you've got a run of the mill action flick.

The Box: A mysterious stranger gives a couple a box with a button on it and says that if they press it, they'll get $1 million, but someone they don't know will die. The straight-forwardness of the story ends with that Philosophy 101 dilemma, as it turns very twisty, with the complexity sometimes seeming to exist just for the sake of being convoluted. There are some creepy parts, but honestly my favorite things about the film are the exterior establishing shots of a snowy Richmond (including UR!). Note to writer/director Richard Kelly: as a suburban Richmond native, you should know better than to perpetuate Hollywood's tired "everyone that lives below the Mason-Dixon Line talks like Scarlett O'Hara" stereotype.