Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fine. I'm Not Very Mature. So What.

The 13-year-old boy in me really wants to drive this truck.

But on the other hand, the adult in me really wants to drive this truck.

Till next we meat ...


Monday, December 14, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 12/14/09)

1) Buy Christmas present for Tiger Woods: a BIG black book.

2) Drink own weight in nog.

3) Hang around under mistletoe while "funny" Uncle Lenny is over.

4) Buy extra wrapping paper.

5) Ignore life lessons proffered by the first three ghosts. Change your ways only when the fourth ghost threatens you with cold and lonely death.

Friday, December 4, 2009

You're Gonna Get SO Drunk

You may not even realize it, but you've been BEGGING for this. BEGGING.

So now ... at long last ... I give to you ...

Steven Seagal Lawman: The Drinking Game!

Here are the rules:

Whenever Steven whisper/mumbles any variation on: "I've been studying the martial arts for 40 years": DRINK.

Whenever they cut to Steven and he's clearly chewing something ... but there's NO food around: DRINK.

Whenever a bad guy is clearly caught by real cops, but they cut to Steven making the arrest: DRINK.

Whenever Steven dispenses "wisdom" about a cop's life and you can actually see his silver-haired, career-cop partner die a little inside: DRINK.

Whenever Steven refers to the Projects as "the 'Jects": DRINK TWICE.

Whenever Steven gets visibly winded after the first five steps of a foot pursuit: DRINK. SIT. HAVE A LITTLE REST.

Whenever Steven blots the slick, glistening ham jelly (or perhaps it's sweat) from his brow with his trusty towel: DRINK GRAVY.

(Whisper/mumbled) "It's ham jelly AND sweat." --Steven Seagal

Please note: Steven Seagal Lawman may only be a half-hour show, but play by these rules and you WILL go through vast amounts of alcohol. So plan your booze shopping accordingly.

Till next we meet ...

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 11/30/09)

1) Ask Tiger Woods for a ride to the end of his driveway.

2) Two words: "Penis" and "Beehive."

3) Listen to Jonas Brothers album during screening of New Moon. Test theory that it's the Pop Rocks and Soda of 2009.

4) Pay rent.

5) Finally take Fonzie's advice and sit on it. Hard.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alfred Hitchcock's Shower Scene

So I was taking a leisurely shower the other morning and I happened to notice that I wasn't the only sardonic old fat guy making a cameo.

Remember Hitchcock's logo for the old "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" show?

Well, it seems my errant hairs were big fans.

Who knew?

Now, if I were a smart man, what I ought to do is charge M. Night Shyamalan a million bucks to come disturbingly worship shower. That way he can enjoy his Hitchcock fetish and I can enjoy my "having lots of money" fetish.

Hmmm ... I gotta make some calls.

Till next we meet ...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mind = Blown

So the new Twilight movie, New Moon, has apparently smashed all kinds of box office records. Including, bafflingly, several held by The Dark Knight.

I have no words, really.

I mean, I'm well aware that bad movies can be crazy popular while good ones are ignored and left slumped against the gymnasium wall like a fat, nerdy kid at the prom. Sure. It happens all the time.

But there's a difference between a bad movie being successful and stunningly lame one pulling down $140 million in a weekend.

So, you know ... it stings a bit.

funny animated gif


Till next we meet ...

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 11/23/09)

1) Tell that cool liquid metal policeman that your name really is John Connor. Even if it isn't.

2) When camping out in front of the Wal-Mart in preparation for Black Friday, make sure you're wearing your best stomping-your-neighbor-to-death-for-a-cheap-TV boots.

3) Trust that your health insurance company knows more about current health care debate than you do. They'll handle everything, right?

4) Buy stuffing.

5) Go see New Moon for 100th time. Because you're not just a fool, you're an astonishly stupid 13-year-old girl. With no taste whatsoever.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuna. It's Made Some Enemies.

Sure, it's a delicious and healthy snack. And, if you're in the market for Tuna in sammich form, perhaps Dunkin Donuts can help you out with that.

For a very reasonable price, I might add.

But there seems to be more to the story.

Upon closer inspection, it's clear someone's trying to send Tuna a message. A very personal message ...

"Fuck you fuck you, I hope you die ASSHOLE!!!"

For me, it's the third exclamation point that really drives the point home.

Tuna better be watching its back.

Till next we meet ...

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 11/9/09)

1) Flush millions of dollars down toilet of Broadway musical adaptation of Spider-Man comic that has absolutely no other choice but to be hilariously bad.

2) Exfoliate faster. Use belt sander.

3) Clean that raw chicken juice off the counter. With your tongue.

4) Rake lawn/bag leaves.

5) Wang chung (tonight). Vigorously.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm Pretty Sure That's Not How You Play The Upright Bass

As you may remember, a while back I happened upon a poster at the train station extolling the benefits of living in the Rahway Arts District.

If the poster was to be believed, the chief benefit appears to be that you may happily engage in sweet, sweet sexual congress with a saxophone.

It went a little something like this:

Anyhow, I have since stumbled upon another such ad. At first blush it doesn't appear to be sexually suggestive ... BUT ... upon closer inspection, the eroticism is plainly apparent.

What's wrong with it, you ask? Have a look for yourself. But pay careful attention to what is NOT seen in the picture ...

"Sir! I'm going to need to see your hands."

"Hands! Show me your hands!"

"Oh, dear GOD. Never mind."

"I think he's finished."

Till next we meet ...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Do NOT Get In The Ring With This Man

I can't stress this enough, people.

Sure, at first blush this just seems to be a perfectly harmless poster for an upcoming boxing match to be broadcast on everyone's favorite pay cable channel. Nothing terribly remarkable about it. Everything seems to be on the up and up.

Until you take a closer look ...

What about THIS guy?

My advice?

Do NOT step into the ring with this man.

I don't know WHAT he's going to do, but he's definitely NOT going to stop at punching you to custard.

Just look into his eyes.

This guy's got plans.

Big plans.

For you.

Till next we meet ...

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 11/2/09)

1) Put nose to actual grindstone.

2) Include inane scene in your brainless movie where cardboard characters outrun TEMPERATURE. (NOTE: Only applies to Roland Emmerich.)

3) Once you've captured and tied him to giant laser, take time to outline your entire nefarious operation to snarky, well-dressed British spy.

4) Iron work shirts.

5) Buy tickets for Game 8 of World Series. Just in case.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nothing Gets By Gretta ...

Nothing! You hear me?

NOTHING gets by Gretta.

Not a goddamn thing!

This is Gretta we're talking about here!


She's the Great Wall of China, a pack of angry wolves and a supermassive black hole all rolled into one!

Nothing get's by Gretta! No sir! No ma'am!

You can bet your life on it!


Except maybe that one guy.

You know the one I mean.


To be honest, I'm not entirely convinced this image was ever an actual "photograph" in the first place. It looks to me like it may have started life as a butter sculpture or perhaps a painting made entirely from duckling fuzz.

And still, that was way before all the Photoshop.

To get to this final stage, this picture has had more work done than Joan Rivers, Cojo and Mickey Rourke combined.

Hey Fox News ... wouldn't it have been less labor intensive to just go door to door across the country and smear Vaseline directly onto corneas of every person in America?

Till next we meet ...

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday,10/26/09)

1) Fire. What's it REALLY taste like?

2) Take public speaking lessons from Sara Palin.

3) Jump shark. In dark alley. Steal his wallet.

4) Seal driveway.

5) Program Tivo to record every single episode of Steven Seagal: Lawman. Twice.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sometimes Your Thumb Betrays You

Like when it decides to stop pushing buttons on the remote when Van Helsing comes on. Here are some recycled Twitter posts to help you share my pain.

Watching Van Helsing on cable. Because not everybody goes to CraigsList for their masochism.

I wonder if the folks who made Van Helsing feel like they got totally robbed by Cat Woman at the Razzies.

"Ha-cha-cha-CHA! It's just like Krull! But with fancy new hats!"

Favorite awful thing about Van Helsing? Kate Beckinsale's accent's a contender. Her dialect coach? Apparently The Count from Sesame Street.

Van Helsing is like CSI: Miami. So bad on every possible level--writing, directing, acting, design--that they MUST have MEANT it to be bad.

That level of suck just can't be accidental.

Kate Beckinsale: "Nothing is faster than Transylvanian horses. Not even werewolves." Bold claim. Mythbusters, the gauntlet has been thrown.

Another contender for best terrible thing in Van Helsing: Hugh Jackman's kicky Jennifer Aniston haircut! So sassy!

And all the rope swinging! It's like Wile E. Coyote made a whole movie from that scene in Crystal Skull.

Dear ALCS Game 6: Thanks for throwing me down, jamming a knee in my back, wrestling the remote from my fist and turning off Van Helsing. I owe you.

Till next we meet ...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm Pretty Sure That's Not How You Play The Saxophone.

I'm the first person to admit that I have only the barest, most rudimentary understanding of music. Even though my dad was a professional drummer for many, many years, some things just manage to skip a generation.

And when it comes to the nitty-gritty of composition or performance, it's even worse. I'm a dilettante of the lowest order.

So it's somewhat telling that even I noticed something was clearly amiss when I happened upon this poster on the train platform.

Don't see what I mean? Have a closer look:

Sure, I may not have been in marching band in high school and I may not own season tickets to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra ... but I think I can tell the difference between playing an instrument and pleasuring it sexually.

I've never visited Rahway or its Arts District. So I don't know if sensuously fellating jazz instruments is the sort of thing people do on the street there.

But I do know this.

This Halloween, I'm trick-or-treating in Rahway.

Dressed as a saxophone.

Just in case.

Till next we meet ...

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 10/19/09)

1) Remember to secure hatch on homemade balloon so your good-for-nothing asshole kid can't sneak out and wreck your chance at your own balloon-based reality show.

2) Swine Flu ... GET SOME!

3) Photoshop fashion magazine cover photo of that grotesque fatty Keira Knightley so she looks like she's got a half-inch waist and legs that are eight feet long each.

4) Replace furnace filter.

5) Keep fucking that chicken.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Fool's Errands (10/12/09)

1) Bet life savings that the Mets will be surprise come-from-behind winners of '09 World Series.

2) Reach into that alligator to get your golf ball back. He probably won't mind.

3) Watch movie Twilight. Sober. Unironically. Start to finish. Without killing self.

4) Rake leaves.

5) Buy new pair of ass-less chaps for Casual Friday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

PANTS! The Eighth Leg!

I fear our pantless hero is now entering his "Margot Kidder/Anne Heche" phase ...

Till next we meet ...

PANTS! The Seventh Leg!

Burn them. Burn them with fire.

Till next we meet ...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PANTS! The Sixth Leg!

True Artists don't need scripts.

Till next we meet ...

PANTS! The Fifth Leg!

To whom is your package addressed?

Till next we meet ...

PANTS! The Fourth Leg!

Angst on set.

Till next we meet ...

PANTS! The Third Leg!

Identity crisis.

Till next we meet ...

PANTS! The Second Leg!

How do you like your wienering?

Till next we meet ...

Monday, October 5, 2009

PANTS! The First Leg!

A little video I made a few months back.

Watch if you dare. But I warn you, his pantlessness will destroy us all ...

Till next we meet ...

Fool's Errands (Monday, 10/5/09)

1) Start Oscar campaign website for Mattel's impending "Barbie" movie.

2) Sign petition to free Roman Polanski. Then sign petition to free all the world's other child rapists, too.

3) Wax nose hair.

4) Rotate tires.

5) Be pitied by Mr. T.


Monday, September 28, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 9/28/09)

1) Throw him the idol. When you know damn well he's never going to throw you the whip.

2) Add new baby to cast of your aging sit-com.

3) Have golden opportunity ... then refrain from punching Michael Bay square in the nuts.

4) Power-wash the patio.

5) You've got the washer rented for another hour yet. Power-wash your junk. Just to see.


6) Go to Switzerland, accept Career Achievement Award for Child Rape.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adventures In Urinating

Are you a lady? Ever wonder what happens behind the mysterious door of the Men's Room? These recycled Twitter posts should help clear things up.

Just got the dirtiest look in the restroom for not washing my hands. Chill, dude. I didn't need to. I missed my fingers.

Disapproving looks in the men's room. It's like these people have never seen a guy leave the stall while eating a Sloppy Joe before.

More disapproving looks in the men's room. I can't POSSIBLY be the only one in this entire office who eats unwrapped Baby Ruths in here.

I don't know ... maybe it's the lemonade they don't like.

Disapproving looks in the men's room. Guys, there's nothing wrong with dropping your pants all the way to the floor at the urinal.

Also, that dance I was doing was a religious thing.

Though I really don't have a reason for the pom-poms. Sometimes I just like to be encouraging.

Dirty looks in the mens' room for not washing hands. Hey, if you guys think my junk is SO filthy ... (con't)

(Con't) ... that I need to wash my hands after touching it, then you won't mind if I skip the middleman and sink-wash my junk. Scoot over

Till next we meet ...

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 9/21/09)

1) Clear wood-chipper jam. From inside.

2) Two words ... Shark Rodeo!

3) Ask Suzanne Somers if she can recommend a good oncologist.

4) Clean gutters.

5) Continue being Glenn Beck.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I think there's a very good chance that this particular graffiti artist regularly gets his ass kicked by a girl who draws unicorns on her notebooks.

If your handle is "BINGO!!" and you sign the "o" with a peace sign ... you really need to be using sparkly, day-glow paint.

Also, you may want to get home because My Little Pony is about to start.

Till next we meet ...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear Captain Obvious ...

I'm very glad that even in this bad economy ...

... that you've been able to find work.

Because we NEEDED a sign in that particular spot.

A sign people could read with their eyes.

You know, the same eyes that they presumably could also use to see ... THAT THE END OF THE GODDAMN PLATFORM IS RIGHT FUCKING THERE!

Till next we meet ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 9/14/09)

1) Save money and time with convenient in-home self-circumcision kit.

2) Pop Rocks + soda + a whole shitload of heroin.

3) Pay for ticket to All About Steve, then sneak into different showing of ... All About Steve.

4) Get haircut.

5) See that rhino over there? Go punch it in the nuts.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Flowers have arrived from space.

I think someone is clearly trying to steal my woman.

If it's Captain Kirk, I'm totally boned.

Though I suppose there's a chance they may not be from space.

They could be from Dr. Seuss.

But if that's the case, I'm still boned.

He IS a doctor, after all.

And I just can't compete with that.

Till next we meet ...

Saturday, September 12, 2009


They're fresh.

Till next we meet.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thank You, Elevator

Somehow that's strangely comforting.

Everything's going to be fine.

I feel reassured.

Especially given today's date.

Thanks, Elevator. Seriously.

Till next we meet ...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear Guy on the Escalator Behind Me

Commuting! I don't have to tell you, it's a blast! Interacting with your fellow man? Mingling with the best and brightest? It's a privilege, I tell you! A PRIVILEGE!

Here are a few recycled Twitter posts to prove it.

Dear Guy Behind Me on the Escalator: STOP sighing. I'm not climbing. It's an ESCALATOR. If I wanted to climb stairs, I'd have taken the stairs.

Dear Guy Behind Me on the Escalator: Perhaps you haven't heard, escalators were invented for the lazy, not the over-aggressive and douchey.

Dear Guy Behind Me on the Escalator: Keep sighing and I'll show you how my fist was invented for your goddamn nuts.

Wait a second ... Holy crap! Maybe the escalator WAS originally invented for your goddamn nuts!

Till next we meet ...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Head Knobs and Broom Sticks

It's really THERE, people! It's time to stop deceiving yourselves!

Perhaps these recycled Twitter posts will help you see things more clearly.

Jean Claude Van Damme has a permanent and pronounced knot on his forehead the size of a doorknob.


JCVD's headknob is invisible until someone points it out. After that, you'll NEVER be able to stop staring at it. You're welcome.


JCVD's headknob has haunted me for years. Now it shall haunt you, too. I am no longer alone. We are connected now, you and I.

Till next we meet ...

Conspiracy Theory

U.S. Senator Arlen Specter ...

Could he be made entirely of ear wax?

Shadowy forces don't want you to know the Truth.

Till next we meet ...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Photo Shoot

PHOTOGRAPHER: Now if you could just look over--

ACTOR: Is it okay that I did my own make-up?


ACTOR: My make-up.


ACTOR: Is it all right? I mean, I didn't know if this was the look you were envisioning, and I wasn't sure if there would be someone here to do it ...

PHOTOGRAPHER: You're wearing make-up?

ACTOR: I was going for a kind of dreamy-but-realistic look. A look that says my character is looking toward the future but ALSO has his feet planted firmly on the ground ...

PHOTOGRAPHER: Look kid, I don't know what they told you. It's just a local ad for the hospital that's two blocks away--

ACTOR: I realize how important make-up can be to the photographer's craft and I didn't mean to overstep any professional bounds, so I REALLY hope you're not offended ...

PHOTOGRAPHER: I couldn't give two shits. Honestly--

ACTOR: I know all about stage make-up. Because I've had extensive experience in dinner theater.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Sure thing, kid--

ACTOR: I thought I'd use a similar look to the one I used when I appeared in Cabaret at the Highland Park Community Center last summer. The Rt. 1 Weekly Clipper raved that I was "off-book."


ACTOR: I think the white pancake base and dark eyeliner really bring out my eyes. Also, I really love The Cure. Have you ever heard of The Cure? How about Emo Phillips? I could add more mascara ...

ACTOR: Does the hair work for you? I cut it myself. I was going for "kicky." Is my lipstick okay? I wanted to make sure they're nice and red ...

PHOTOGRAPHER: Kid, I already took the picture.

ACTOR: Beg pardon?

PHOTOGRAPHER: We're done here.

ACTOR: We're--?




ACTOR: Did you need to take another one?



ACTOR: Are you sure?


ACTOR: Hello?

Till next we meet ...

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 9/7/09)

1) Send bank info to that nice Nigerian prince.

2) Organize all-day Uwe Boll Film Festival.

3) Drano Shooters.

4) Drop off kids at skating rink for play date.

5) Buy giant magnet and rubber band, try that Wile E. Coyote thing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

You Be The Judge ...

Nap? Or crime scene?

The eternal question.

Till next we meet ...

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Caveman Playlist: Update

Okay, Interwebs ... I still need your help.

As you may remember, I'm on the lookout for songs for my Caveman Playlist.

To review:

I'm looking for bassy, thumpy, raw, stripped down songs. Primal stuff you could stomp around a fire to. Any genre will do, though strong rhythm is a must.

Only the fattest beats will do.

Here's what I've got so far. Some tasty selections.

"Grounds for Divorce" - Elbow
"Dog Door" - Tom Waits
"Filipino Box Spring Hog" - Tom Waits
"Make it Rain" - Tom Waits
"The Tower That Ate People" (Remix from "Hit") - Peter Gabriel
"Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing" - Chris Isaak
"Tuff Enough" - The Fabulous Thunderbirds
"Name of the Game" - Crystal Method

Okay, now it's your turn. What am I missing?


Till next we meet ...

Sure, THIS Year We Kinda Didn't "Win" ...

Okay, fine. It was ugly. We lost.

We got our asses beat.


Despite having what I thought were two pretty serviceable videos. (

But that milk is long spilled. No further tears shall be shed over it.

Anyhow, LAST year, we totally WON!

So, to make myself feel better, I thought I'd post a little blast from the past for your potential enjoyment. Here are my 2008 spots for the Sideshow Collectibles "Make Our Commercial" contest. The second of which ended up taking the top prize.

I apologize in advance for my fatness.

Here's the cleverly titled "Sideshow Freak #1" ...

And here's the eventual contest winner, "Sideshow Freak #2" ...

It was the first year of the contest and I thought the prize was pretty swell: $750 in cash and $250 in gift certificates.

Well, I thought it was swell until they offered a free trip for two to ComiCon to the winner the following year.

You know ... the year we didn't win. That year.


Milk. Spilled. Bitching. Ceased.

Okay. Better now.


Till next we meet ...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Can A Sister Get Some Melanin?

It's time we all got together and did some good in this world. It's time we all gave something back to someone who really deserves it.

Like Julianna Margulies.

And what should we give her?

Pigment. Lots of it.

See, I've been seeing posters for the new Julianna Margulies show all over NYC lately. And I'm concerned about her.


Because, apparently, her skin does not naturally produce pigmentation of any kind. Seriously, Julianna. You're making albinos look like George Hamilton.

Juilanna, the CBS Marketing department has decided you're the color of newsprint. You don't see a problem there?

Could we all maybe take up a collection and get this woman some melanin?

I'm a bit swarthy myself. I'd be glad to donate if it would make Juilianna look less like the sun-bleached skeleton of Edgar Winter's paler sister.

Look into your heart, America. Or at least into your epidermis.

Till next we meet ...

Are You Old?

Worried you might be slipping inexorably into the great yawning abyss of mortality? Here are a few recycled Twitter posts that might help you assess your level of risk.

How To Tell When You're Old: When you don't recognize a single "celebrity" on Extra.

How To Tell When You're Old: When the thought occurs to you that that Jamie Lee Curtis pooping yogurt might not be such a bad idea.

How To Tell When You're Old: When you find yourself giving a shit about zoning laws.

How To Tell When You're Old: When you suddenly discover you have an opinion about yarn.

How To Tell When You're Old: When your favorite Phil Collins mix tape finally breaks.

"Sussudio, muthafuckas!"

How To Tell When You're Old: When you follow a drug commercial's directions and ask your doctor if it's right for you.

How To Tell When You're Old: When you consider Just For Menning your chest hair.

How To Tell When You're Old: When, after you've Just For Menned your chest hair, you look further down ... then reach for the box again.

Till next we meet ...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some People Find Jesus on a Toasted Cheese Sandwich


I found Master Shake on the floor of the handicapped stall of the 14th floor men's room of the HBO building at 42nd and 6th.

Worship with me, why don't you.

Till next we meet ...

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Fool's Errands (Monday, 8/31/09)

1) Use a nailgun and your tender, tender inner thighs, to test Dalton's theory from Roadhouse that "Pain don't hurt."

2) Piss up rope.

3) Find out exactly how many spiders you can get into your mouth at once.

4) Weed garden.

5) Challenge oncoming train to jousting match.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Want to unleash your kung-fu on some punk-ass chump? But still want to make sure you're staying "safe?"

Well, I've got just the product for you.


Punk-ass chumps ... beware.

Time for a little hermetically sealed, medical exam quality whup-ass!


Till next we meet ...

Maybe It's Not a Neurological Disorder, Maybe Your Kid's a Douche

This may well be the best poster I've ever seen on the NJ Transit train on the way to work.

It's an ad for an advocacy group for people with Tourette's Syndrome. The text says: "Maybe he can't just 'stop it.' Maybe it's a neurological disorder."

But what amuses me is the look on the kid's face.

Mom's chastising him, but clearly he's not taking the scolding in the spirit in which it's intended.

He's mocking her.


In fact, he's about an eighth of a second away from busting out laughing in her face.

Which means he's probably about a quarter of a second away from getting five across the eyes.

But it's worth it just to see that vein pop out on mom's forehead.

Till next we meet ...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Caveman Playlist

So I need some suggestions. I've been compulsively listening to "Grounds for Divorce" by Elbow.




I require your fattest beats.

So I'd like to put together a playlist of similarly awesome songs: i.e. fuzzy, scuzzy, fat-bottomed, throaty, kick-ass, aggressive, propulsive songs. The kind of songs you could stomp around a bonfire to.

Essentially I'm looking to put together a Caveman Playlist.

Your fattest beats. Now, please.

Since I'm not a huge fan of trebble, the deeper and thumpier the rhythm and bass lines, the better. Essentially I'm looking for music that will kick me square in the chest and keep my ribs rattling. I wanna FEEL this playlist in my guts.

Genre isn't an issue. Songs can be soundtrack cuts or instrumental pieces. Doesn't matter. Any genre, really. My mind is open. (Note: Tom Waits will be well represented on this playlist.)

My only requirement is kick-assity.

So hit me, baby!

Any suggestions? Anybody?


Till next we meet ...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Think My Neighbor May Be A Spy ...

It just seems like he's trying too hard to convince me of something.

Till next we meet ...

Movie Review: BANDSLAM


It’s a movie.

But you probably haven’t heard of it.

As of this writing, BandSlam has the dubious distinction of owning the 8th worst opening weekend for a movie on more than 2000 screens since these sorts of records started being kept back in 1982, where it slots neatly between All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 and The Adventures of Pluto Nash. It is currently ranked way back at 4,351st in all-time domestic box office.

And according to, it was pulling in a miserable $47 per screening on Monday night.

Why do I bring this up? To rub it in? To kick some unlucky filmmakers while they’re down?


I mention all of this to draw a big, bright, neon circle around the true culprits behind these wretched statistics. Summit Entertainment and Walden Media’s “handling” of the marketing for this movie has been one of the single most incompetent and wrong-headed debacles I've ever seen in the world of movie making.

Now bear in mind, I've personally worked on movies that have NEVER been released. But, if you can believe it, THIS has been handled worse.

So let’s start again ...


It’s a movie.

But you probably haven’t heard of it.

And that is a goddamn shame, because it’s actually pretty good.

In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that I’m an old school chum of Mr. Josh A. Cagan, who gets “story by” and “co-screenplay” credit on the film.

But this fact is only responsible for my seeing the film ... not for how I reacted to it. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I live by the credo: “Don’t ask my opinion if you’re not prepared to hear it.”

Because I don’t sugarcoat. I don’t blow smoke. And I don’t pass out empty praise. I'm just not wired for hollow compliments.

In short, if you’re looking for an ego fluffer, I’m not your guy.

So I'm being totally straight with you (and with Josh) when I say I really dug the movie.

It's sweet, endearing, and at points, surprisingly touching.

Performances are solid across the board, starting with Gaelan Connell’s Will. Connell very capably grounds the proceedings while simultaneously carrying the entire movie on his perpetually slumped little shoulders. There's an unpolished genuineness about him that really shines through. He's Shia LeBeouf without the ego and all the irritating affectations. He feels like a real kid. Yes, he’s nerdy, but he’s real-life nerdy, not Hollywood caricature nerdy. You believe Connell's Will. This, despite the fact that his character possess a musical knowledge base that, given his tender age, might just be supernatural. It’s a tricky thing to balance, but he pulls it off nicely.

As for the co-leading ladies, the biggest surprise for me was that Aly Michalka (Charlotte) so nimbly tap dances through some of the movie’s most delightfully quirky stretches of comic dialogue with an effortless sense of innate timing that often eludes actors with twice her experience. This girl has some legit comic chops and Connell and Michalka really pop during their verbal sparring matches.

Vanessa Hudgens -- the film's putative "movie star" -- is fairly capable in her turn as Sa5m, but isn’t given a great deal of heavy lifting to do story-wise. Well, that's not entirely true. Hudgens is tasked with offering her trademarked supernaturally adorable smile at regular ten minute intervals. (Presumably director Todd Graff gave her the direction “twinkle” during the filming of every single one of her scenes.)

Now it should be pointed out that being smiley and adorable is ... well, let's be honest ... it's kind of completely at odds with the moody goth girl she's supposed to be playing. But somehow this fact is not distracting here. Perhaps all the twinkling has a hypnotizing effect on the audience.

But the best performance in the film comes from the only adult in the room. You have to understand that it’s quite remarkable that I left the theater loving Lisa Kudrow's performance as Will's mom, Karen. This is notable because I have never liked Lisa Kudrow in anything before. In fact, I have actively disliked her in most everything I've ever seen her in. And yes, that includes Friends.

But here, she gives a surprisingly warm, layered, vulnerable and nicely nuanced performance in a movie where you probably wouldn't expect such a thing to exist.

This is a role that, if handled badly, could easily have been played for formulaic, canned sit-com laughs. But luckily Kudrow is not just collecting a check here. As Will's conflicted mom - caught between giving her teenage son space to grow up and hanging on to her little boy - she gets some genuine laughs. Her comic scenes with Connell are some of the best in the movie. But Kudrow also gets to flex her dramatic muscles as well, most notably in a heartfelt backstage monologue where she explains to Charlotte the cruel origin of Will's unwanted nickname. Kudrow is simultaneously tender and fierce -- baring her maternal claws like a momma bear protecting her cub.

Easily that scene was one of the movie's highlights. In part because of the performance, but also because it was one of a handful of moments where the script really takes center stage. And it shines.

Even the villain -- if there is such a thing in this movie -- competing band leader Ben Wheatley (Scott Porter) is given some nice comic moments. (Though, a picky point, Porter does appear to be a touch old for high school. A quick trip to IMDb confirms that Mr. Porter blew out 30 candles on his last birthday cake. Perhaps he’s one of those 13 year seniors.)

But the script, when it gets the occasional chance to surface between the many, many musical numbers, is clever, quick, tender and funny. Which is always welcome. Particularly since the musical numbers here are bland and forgettable.

Many reviews have compared this movie to School of Rock. But I happen to think it’s better than School of Rock. This movie has more natural charm, tons more honest sincerity (due in large part to Connell and Kudrow's chemistry) and none of Jack Black’s tiresome flailing, squealing or “eyebrow acting.” In my book, that's called a win/win.

Is the film faultless? Of course not. But for me its charms outweighed the pitfalls.

It felt about ten or fifteen minutes too long. They probably could have lopped off one or more of the musical numbers and come out better for it. In fact, all of the movie’s very best moments come during its flourishes of clever, rapid-fire dialogue. Dialogue that thankfully never approaches the irritating, self-congratulatory smarm of Juno. Unlike Juno, I could listen to these kids talk all day.

Cutting some musical numbers would also help because the musical numbers, without exception, are bland and forgettable. The movie sparks to life when the characters are lobbing dialogue back and forth. But once the perfectly mixed and Auto-Tuned soundtrack kicks in ... all the reality and charm drain away. The singing voices are thin, passionless and over engineered, and the band's sound is featureless and generic. (Which ironically is exactly the kind of thing Will's character rails against.)

But my biggest problem with the film is really one that's a fundamental problem with the industry itself.

The two lead actresses are woefully miscast.

While Michalka handles her duties capably and Hudgens doesn't knock anything over ... the simple presence of a pair of impossibly beautiful Disney-bred wannabe "pop" starlets really flies in the face of the quirky, realistic story that's on the page.

Both girls must have been surrounded at all times on set by their own personal armies of hair, make-up and costume artists. Because they are constantly photographed here in only the most glamorous and overtly sexed-up ways. In fact, if you didn't know any better, with all the loving slow-mo close-ups, you'd swear you were watching a two-hour lip gloss and shampoo commercial. As a result, the musical numbers, unfortunately, never end up being about the music. They're always about how sexy the girls are.

Which is too bad, since that isn't the story the script is trying to tell.

I realize I'm tilting at windmills on this point. I am painfully aware that people in movies are several orders of magnitude more attractive than us mere mortals. That's how the universe works. I know that.

And I'm also painfully aware that the Hollywood star system is, and always will be, in full force and effect. The "Talent" comes first and story is pushed to the end of the line. Concessions always get made. Craft is always sacrificed at the altar of Commerce. Because, let's be honest, without the Talent, the movie doesn't get made in the first place. I know that, too.

But I would have LOVED to see this very same movie made with unknowns. Girls who maybe were real-life musicians and not overly-styled, overly-packaged, overly-engineered Disney-bots. Girls who didn't travel with teams of agents, publicists and stylists. Girls who could maybe be allowed to look like actual girls. At least once in a while.

In short, this really should have been an indie film. It should have been cast with punky girls who could actually rock -- not hot girls who could wear make-up and pose.

But it wasn't. And I really need to get over the fact that the world doesn't work the way I want it to.

But all that said, ultimately, it really is a testament to how well the other elements of the movie worked that, despite my complaints, the movie was still so goddamn charming!

And at the end of the day, I really dug it. Honest!

So if the movie's good, why didn't anybody go see it?

Marketing. Marketing. Marketing.

The geniuses in charge of selling this film took one look at the cast list and decided their entire marketing budget should be blown on TV spots plugged between episodes of DeGrassi and Hannah Montana. Then they patted themselves on the back, knocked off early and presumably spent the rest of the day eating lead paint chips and rubbing gravel into their hair.

Because they’re fucking morons.

It's obvious that nobody actually watched this movie before putting together the marketing strategy.

I work in New York City and I never saw a single BandSlam poster in the subway, on a bus, phone booth, taxi … anywhere. Now, bear in mind, a few years back there were posters all over the damn place for the Tara Reid/Christian Slater debacle Alone in the Dark, which was directed by Uwe Boll, the man who makes Ed Wood look like C.B. DeMille.

Apart from some TV ads my friends with kids swear they saw on the Disney Channel, I’m not aware of ANY other attempts to tell the world at large that this movie existed.

And that's a pity. Because while this movie may have kids IN it, it isn't necessarily FOR kids. This is a movie by and for people whose love of music is deep and broad. And that's a category that does not include today's 'tweens.

Just look at all the musical references: David Bowie, Cheap Trick, The Sex Pistols, U2, The Ramones, Patty Smith, and on and on. Tragically, today’s 'tweens have ZERO idea who any of those people are. (Well, they MAY have a vague notion that U2 might be that one old guy who’s always talking about India or something.)

But because this 'tween generation has been studied and focused grouped and feverishly marketed at since they were zygotes, they don’t have any sense of musical history. They haven’t been allowed to. The giant corporate machine that’s programmed to keep them distracted with shiny things while siphoning off their disposable cash will not permit it. Their knowledge of music starts with Barney and ends with The Ting Tings.

This movie should have been marketed for adults. Adults who grew up on John Hughes and Cameron Crowe and even a little Savage Steve Holland. Adults who enjoyed School of Rock. Adults who dug High Fidelity. This isn't an edgy movie, but it is a sweet, heartfelt throwback. With zero brainless toilet humor and some solid, three-dimensional characters.

Hell, swap out the iPods for Walkmen and the camera phones for VHS camcorders, and this movie could easily have been set in 1987. And you know what? Setting it in ’87 might have made a world of difference for the soft-headed marketing department. Maybe then they’d have seen it as the sweet, smart coming-of-age story that it is. And not High School Musical 4.

On a side note, I also feel that I have to take the movie reviewing community to task a little bit on this one.

A cursory look at Rotten Tomatoes shows BandSlam has one of the highest scores of the year. 80% among all reviewers and very respectable 89% among their top tier reviewers. Great score, right? Sure is. And well deserved.

But my problem is that so many of these “positive” reviews are peppered with mean-spirited back-handed compliments. Many of them in the vein of: “It wasn't nearly as wretched as I expected!” Or: “It’s better than these shitty teen musicals usually are.”

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but not by much. Check them out. Some of them are pretty nasty considering they’re supposed to be good notices.

To me, that’s just lazy. Not to mention, a little cowardly. It just shows you that many reviewers went into this movie with their knives drawn. They were resentful that they were being forced to review what they thought was going to be High School Musical 4. They were pissed before they even parked the car.

But then the movie they saw wasn't anything like what they were expecting. (Thanks again, Marketing!) They actually found themselves charmed by it. Maybe even actively liking it.

But that was a problem for them. Since they’d already pre-written their pissy, resentful rants on the way to the theater. What to do? Rework the whole thing? But they’d already gotten their blood up to trash the entire 'tween musical genre! There must be a way they could express their surprisingly positive response to the movie they saw … while still slamming the movie they were expecting.

And that’s exactly what a lot of them did.

Because they couldn't just give the movie an unqualified positive review. Could they? One free of passive aggression and back-handed slights? Nope. If they did, then people would think they actually LIKE this sort of movie. Heaven forefend! And then nobody will ever take them seriously again as professional arbiters of quality cinematic art. Better keep the praise at arm’s length. Otherwise people might think you’re gay. Or ... something.

Look, the problem is, The World has the wrong idea about what sort of movie this really is. And whose fault is that? Whose job was it to tell the world exactly what kind of movie this was?

Oh, right! The mouth-breathing, ball-dropping retards in Summit/Walden marketing departments!

And so ... we come full circle.

Let us hope that several jobs are deservedly lost.

Rent or buy the DVD. Seriously. This movie isn't what you think.

It's good.

Till next we meet ...