Top 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s

Another list of movies has appeared, this time the Online Film Critics Society’sTop 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s“. Michael at eclecticism and his friend DeAnna started a meme (oh my). I’ve cleaned up the list, and changed the links to the films’ appropriate IMDb pages. The ones I’ve seen are emboldened, and I’ve included some comments. I also created a copy without my edits for you to use on your own page.
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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Oh yeah, Monday night Lisa and I decided to curl up with a good movie. After almost an hour, I realized that Club Dread probably wasn’t it. So for a real change of pace, we popped in Dodgeball.

Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation

Ah, stupid humor. How can you not laugh at a scene involving grown men losing a game of dodgeball to Girl Scouts or training by (unsuccessfully) dodging wrenches? Not to mention the quotes… oh the quotes. Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn have great comedic timing and delivery, and this movie really gave them some fun dialogue to play with:

White Goodman (Stiller): Go ahead, make your jokes, Mr. Jokey… Joke-maker. But let me hit you with some knowledge. Quit now. Save yourself the embarrassment of losing with these losers in Las Vegas, La Fleur.
Peter La Fleur (Vaughn): Alliteration aside, I’ll take my chances in the tournament.
White Goodman: Yeah, you will take your chances.
Peter La Fleur: I know. I just said that.
White Goodman: I know you did.
Peter La Fleur: I’m not sure where you’re going with this.
White Goodman: I’m not sure where you’re going with this.
Peter La Fleur: That’s what I said.
White Goodman: That’s what I’m saying to you.
Peter La Fleur: All right.
White Goodman: Touché.

It’s like that throughout the movie. Stiller just continually makes an ass of himself, and Vaughn plays his typical cool and calm persona I’m not going to lie, I enjoy me some silly jokes from time to time. And these are the kinds of movies we need to offset all the serious ones. Sometimes you just want to be entertained. And sometimes that entertainment needs to focus on men getting hit in their privates. I’m just saying…

Oh yeah, Lance Armstrong’s cameo was one of the funniest exchanges I’ve ever seen.

The Good Ol’ Days

Saturday night was the main event. I was finally able to attend a party with some college friends courtesy of Jeff and Sara Jane. I won’t bore you with the details, the important thing is that I got to talk to some people I haven’t interacted with in a long time. It was great to talk to people like Joe and Ali, and see that they are doing well. And of course there was plenty of reason to drink alcohol and eat chocolate, which makes for a very pleasant evening of loudly regaling tales of stupidity from yesteryear.

I miss a lot of people from my past. Life changes, and people drift in and out. While regret shouldn’t become such a big part of your life, it often does. I keep saying that I will make a better effort at keeping in touch with friends, but, quite frankly, I’m lousy at it. It’s not intentional, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by my progressive lifestyle… I’m not sure what that was supposed to mean. My life isn’t that busy, but I get easily distracted by my job, my girlfriend, and shiny plastic discs. In reality, I’m jealous of the fact that Lisa still talks to friends who knew her in third grade, when 8 years is a ridiculously long time for me to know anyone outside my family at this point. And those people who have known me for the better part of a decade are only occasional acquaintances these days.

I think for my non-New Year’s resolution (why wait for a specific date to start working on your life?), I’m going to try to e-mail as many people that I’ve been meaning to say hi to as possible. College friends, bar buddies, musical companions, etc. I’ve known a lot of people in my life, and it’s nice to keep in touch with more than a passing encounter.

More MHz to the rescue

Man am I a doofus. I bought this new system a couple months ago, and tonight I just got it running at the right speed. It was one of those package deals from Tiger Direct, including an Athlon XP 3000+. I was lazy during assembly and didn’t notice the default motherboard settings. With the advent of the jumperless configuration, I’ve grown accustomed to setting speeds within the BIOS. The speed the computer displayed seemed somewhat slow for the processor, but since it was still faster and better than the last machine I never bothered to take care of it. Tonight I finally decided to check and whaddya know? I’ve been running with the default 133 bus instead of 166. We’ll see how much faster that takes me once the 13x multiplier is done with it.

The Incredibles

Last night Lisa and I finally found time to catch The Incredibles. In case you’ve been living under a rock – and if you read this website… well, who knows – The Incredibles is the sixth feature-length film from Pixar Studios. I loved all of their previous work (ok, I still haven’t seen Finding Nemo, but I’m sure I’ll love it), and this one is no exception. It was… ok, ok, it was incredible. Since I’m sure most of you have already seen it, or at least read the reviews I’m just going to comment on a few aspects of what made it great:

  • Animation – The animation is absolutely wonderful. And by that, I don’t mean it looks realistic, I mean it looks wonderful. And that’s what animation is all about. I still don’t get what a movie like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was supposed to accomplish. Wow, you can create fake humans that almost look like real humans talking. You know what? For a lot less money and effort you could just have real humans talking that look exactly like real humans talking. And then I won’t be focused on how they look, but what they say… and then you can spend the extra time on writing a script that deserves that attention, or spend the extra money on someone decent to write it for you. I truly believe that animation should be used in areas that allow you to do things you can’t normally do. The characters in The Incredibles all look fantastic even though none of them look realistic. You can spend 2 years trying to make Mr. Incredible look like a real person, but for the purpose of this movie he shouldn’t. He should look like an oversized man who can barely squeeze into his undersized car.
  • Action – Here is where the animation really shines through. The chase scene with Dash is jaw-droppingly good. I turned to Lisa and said it was probably the best sequence of its kind since the speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi. And the fights were outstanding, too. Why? Because with animation they don’t have to rely on constant, flashy cuts to make the battle work. Instead you actually get to see the “Supers” fight. And boy did that just let their creative juices flow.
  • Voice Talent – Pixar does a great job of picking voices for their characters. Who would have thought of putting Craig T. Nelson in a film like this? Their casting has been flawless, right down to using the director himself (Brad Bird) for the voice of the wacky designer, Edna Mode. Personally I haven’t found Mike Meyer’s Scottish accent funny since So I Married an Axe Murderer, yet the normally irritating Samuel L. Jackson was perfect in his supporting role here.
  • Script – In the end, it all comes down to a great script. The plot is a generic “retired hero fights unknown villain from his past only in an attempt to regain former glories only to discover what really matters to him is his family” formula. And it doesn’t matter. I figured out almost the entire movie 10 minutes in and I didn’t care. It’s still a kids’ movie in the end, so there’s no need for a convoluted plot. Even having a pretty good idea about the ending, I still thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

I’m glad to see that Pixar has managed to keep up their high standards, as we near the 10 year anniversary of their first feature. If you haven’t had the chance to catch this movie yet, take the time. You won’t be disappointed.

On the radio

Don’t you hate when you get in the car and turn on the radio only to hear the closing rifts of a song like “D’yer Mak’er”. Thank God for “Twofer Tuesdays” as the next song to come on was “Over the Hills and Far Away”. It’s like just as you’re about to feel disappointed, things turn out even better.

Aggregation, not aggravation

November was an odd month for me online. Obviously it was my least active on this page (scroll down to the bottom and you’ll still see posts from October). But more than that, I withdrew from many of my usual visits and didn’t keep up with the news. This was brought on by many different issues, however it was a software related one that kept it going for this long.

A lot of my daily reads are WordPress blogs. It’s not really on purpose, but quite often I found cool sites through the forums and that led to other users who I also started following. To keep up with all of these sites I looked for a good RSS Reader and found SharpReader. This worked well until all of the WordPress-run sites (except for my own) suddenly stopped working. I kept getting this message:

Error reading URL: The underlying connection was closed: The server committed an HTTP protocol violation.

Everything else about the sites seemed fine (you know, when I would bother to use a browser to see them), and I could view them in other aggregators, so I thought something was wrong with SharpReader. After some poking around I found the real problem was with .NET. Okay, it wasn’t exactly a problem with .NET so much as the lastest service pack for the framework made the parser more strict, causing programs to balk when they received an extra space in feeds. And while the nightly builds of WP that I run had no problems, the current 1.2 version did have an extra space.

Since I wasn’t goind to be able to convince everybody to fix the error in their websites before 1.3 comes out (ok, I really just didn’t feel like trying), I knew I needed to do something on my side. After trying a few other readers, I really didn’t want to switch from Sharpreader. Although it has one or two minor irritations, the benefits far outweigh them. For starters, I love the hierarchical format, which allows me to read multiple threads in multiple categories at the same time. With my setup I can decide whether I want to read all of my dailies, or just the Livejournal links, or even just one particular site at a time. Since my feeds have been hovering in limbo, I was barely keeping up with any sites and getting frustrated.

Today I finally fixed it. A couple weeks ago I found an article explaining how to change this behavior. Unfortunately that didn’t solve my problem. By creating the config file, SharpReader simply wouldn’t start. But today I noticed a more recent comment on the post with a caveat:

One gotcha, though – anyone cuttign and pasting from the recipe abve will get a corrupt config file warning, because it’s grown curly open quotes (“) for both open and close of the “true” and not simple quotes ("). You do need to manually replace them.

Sure enough, I created the SharpReader.exe.config and pasted in the proper config:

<configuration>
<system.net>
<settings>
<httpWebRequest useUnsafeHeaderParsing="true" />
</settings>
</system.net>
</configuration>

Afterwards I deleted the quotes and retyped them, fired up Sharpreader, and lo and behold, my feeds are once again being read. Now, while I appreciate Microsoft correcting code for standards, I am even happier that I can turn that behavior off… at least for now.

Start the playoffs now

I’m kind of going crazy here. The Eagles just demolished one of the only teams that could have been a threat to them in the NFC. They are practically a lock to make the Super Bowl this year. Yet I still have to wait almost 2 months to find out if they’ll actually make it. You’d think we’d all be happy to have a team that managed to clinch it’s fourth straight division title on Thanksgiving weekend. But no, we’ve all become a tad antsy about these things. The Philadelphia Daily News had a great article about just how easy it is to be negative when everything seems so positive.

Yesterday was fun. Since the big game against the Pack wasn’t being broadcast in this area (I really hate living by NYC these days), I headed over to McMahon’s in Hoboken (I’m glad to see Willie Lynch is still playing there, I’ll have to swing by sometime for that). I found out a couple weeks ago when they played the ‘Skins that it had become a major Eagles bar, so I stopped by. It’s far more fun than trying out a new sports bar in my area since I used to hang out there in college. And with only my second visit, I was already talking to people I met before and having a blast with the weird comraderie that is built between complete strangers who happen to wear green.

What bugged me most was that I almost could have been at that game. Instead I should hopefully be able to get tickets for the Cowboys game. I am beyond psyched. I might even try to drive down to DC next Sunday and look for tickets to that game. At this point I’m thining about having a party for the Championship Game. We’ll see how that all comes together, because right now I’m looking at knots in my stomach until the end of January.