Music soothes the savage beast

Last night was just another hiccup in what has become a much easier nighttime routine for our little brat… I mean precious little one. Seriously, I’m kidding. Kayleigh’s been acting out lately but it’s the usual stuff. She’s still a wonderful joy to be around in the right increments of time…

Anyway, the little scutch had opted for a short nap which meant that half an hour before her bedtime she was already overtired. For those of you without kids and unaware of the concept of them being overtired, it’s the same thing as with adults – they get “punchy.” She was briefly lucid enough to give her grandparents goodnight kisses and willingly come upstairs in my arms to brush her teeth. But somehow between the bathroom and her bedroom the whole ordeal became too much for her to handle and, again, with the wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth.

This is how diaper changes become a 2 person job – assuming you don’t have a good restraint system in place. When a toddler switches moods, it’s easy to lose site of the tricks of the trade picked up over months of parenting. Frustration wins out over common sense and suddenly there’s two grown adults trying to to figure out how to pin down a 22 month-old without resorting to wrestling moves. Then it hit me: doesn’t this kid like music. So I broke out my dulcet tones, often described as a cross between Tony Bennet and Frank Sinatra (assuming that by crossed you mean “literally smashed into one another”), and tried to remember the opening lines of Kayleigh’s most recent most favorite song:

And amazingly, she shut up. So I passed the third line to The Woman because I don’t want to prevent Kayleigh from continuing to enjoy music (also because it’s a miracle if I can remember more than two lines of any song) and the rest of the process proceeded with little fanfare. That’s not to say the she went to sleep easily, but at least the portion that involved diapers and pajamas and books was uneventful.

Once again Jim Henson has come to my rescue. The fact that Kayleigh not only enjoys Sesame Street but can also identify characters such as Kermit and Fozzie Bear is a source of some pride for me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a lot of the newer kiddie entertainment with my little girl, but watching her shake her groove thing to the psychedelic sounds Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem is a lot more fun that singing that damn Caillou song for the umpteenth time in a row.

For the record, “I don’t know how to thank you guys”/”I don’t know WHY to thank you guys” is still one of the greatest comedic lines in a movie. And while Kayleigh might not get all of the humor, our daily viewings of “Movin’ Right Along” have slowly morphed into watching more and more of The Muppet Movie together.

I just can’t wait for her to actually get the “fork in the road” line and laugh with me.


So I’m watching The Ultimate Trailer Show the other day… or maybe it was Nothing But Trailers… I don’t remember a host, so it was probably Nothing But Trailers… then again, I wasn’t watching it that long… whatever, it’s probably not that relevant. The point is, I was watching a show filled with trailers to remind myself of everything I’m missing out on…

This is going in the wrong direction.

Listen up nerds. I saw this trailer the other day for a new movie called Fanboys. Not just stupid humor, but stupid STAR WARS GEEK humor. So yeah, it’s up my alley and possibly up yours.

Just as I was getting myself excited about the possibility of renting this in 4 or 5 years, my eye caught something at the end. Watch it again, I’ll wait… Did you see it? That’s right, directed by Kyle Newman. KYLE NEWMAN! Can you believe it? What? You don’t care?

Crap. I think I told this out of order. Ignore that first part, we’ll get back to it.

Alright, quick flashback. I used to work at this small company (4.5 employees at it’s max). Two of the other guys went to high school together in the area. Plus, we had a lot of free time. As a result, we often ended up having extended lunches with friends of theirs. One of these guys was an aspiring filmmaker. Now, I’m not saying this was some guy who thought he could make a low budget flick in his backyard. I’m saying this was a guy who studied filmmaking, had made a short film that won something or the other, had an agent, etc. He was for real.

He was also a total Star Wars geek. I remember him going on about all of his collectibles – we even stopped by toy stores for him. I thought it was a little odd, since he didn’t seem like the type, but no biggie. We take all kinds.

A couple years ago I was curious if he ever got a break and checked to see if he was on IMDb (heck, even I have an IMDb page). Sure enough, I found him. At the time he hadn’t really done anything, but then…

(now you can go back and read from the beginning… well, you can skip the first paragraph and then it might make sense).


Holy crap… Me? Seeing a movie? While still in theaters? Who would have thunk it? The far more surprising fact is that it was me AND The Woman. I’ve at least caught a few of the more guy-friendly flicks in the couple years. She can’t even remember the last time she stepped foot in a theater. But today made for a nice change of pace as I had taken the afternoon off and we were both excited to see WALL-E.

So, the verdict?

Wow. Awesome. I’m truly impressed with the depth of the future dystopia they created for a children’s movie. Yes, I know these films work for adults, too (I’m a BIG Pixar fan), but this one had a truly bleak look for a good portion of time. And the minimal dialogue through the first half somehow does not hold anything back. Instead we get some impressive character development just by watching WALL-E go through his daily grind of stacking garbage broken up by his occasional find of a “treasure”.

It’s hard to judge this film in comparison with the rest of the Pixar catalog as it is a very different beast. While it contains many of your typical fairy tale/kid’s movie elements, the cold and inhuman environment and storytelling that is dominant in the first half separates it from the rest. But in spite of that and the odd, speech-limited characters, it is their first true love story. And it works surprisingly well in this context – I honestly started to feel a real connection with these supposed buckets of bolts.

I’m a big fan of Pixar’s work, and they certainly lived up to the expectations once again.

Am I the only one?

Seriously, am I the only one with virtually no interest in the latest adventures of Indy? I’m sure it made a crapload (damn you spellcheck – that is a word!) of money, and people will continue to fall over themselves to get to theaters whether the reviews are good, bad, or tepid; but the commercials and trailers leave me totally apathetic. The presence of the horrendous Shia LaBeouf certainly doesn’t help, but that’s not the only problem.

Maybe I should just get this out of my system right now – is Indiana Jones really that great? The first one? Absolutely! The third one? Pretty awesome! The second one? Ugh. The entire trilogy was on TV the other day and I was reminded just how mediocre The Temple of Doom was/is. That gives me zero confidence in the latest entry – especially considering the advertising has been so bland in my mind.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky. But coming from someone who actually enjoyed the Star Wars prequels, the idea of a long overdue sequel just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

Links you might like

I said I would do this last week, and yet here these links still have not been… linked?

That last one reminds me – who’s up for Lost tonight?

Movie overload

Holy cow have we watched a lot of movies lately. I’ve been meaning to write a bunch of mini-reviews, but each time I get around to it we watch something else. Let’s see if I can do a decent rundown of the latest ones:

Knocked Up – Very delayed in writing about this one, but Apatow has really set a standard for this type of vulgar, yet touching, comedy. What really helps sell these movies are the characters. No matter how idiotic they seem, by the end you really start to care about them because they are good people. If you don’t mind too many dirty words, this is a great take on the unplanned pregnancy story.

Blades of Glory – Even The Woman laughed at the immature humor on this one. I expected to enjoy it, but not as much as I did. The best work Will Ferrell has done on the big screen – not including Stranger Than Fiction, obviously.

Ratatouille – It’s Pixar. What more do I have to say? It’s another great kids’ flick that works well for adults. I loved the story, and the characters and animation were fantastic. ‘Nuff said.

Juno – I liked it. I enjoyed it. It was fun. Yes, it has it’s flaws, but every movie does. Juno is great character, even if her dialogue feels contrived at points – she’s the kind of kid you both hope and fear that you’ll have. She’s strong willed and independent, but that can lead to stupid things when you’re too young to understand. As for the rest of the cast, would they please stop making movies that don’t involve Michael Cera? Seriously, my biggest complaint is that Cera is not on screen enough. And Allison Janney is another one of my favorites. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner are great as the hip young couple that aren’t really “all that”. And J.K. Simmons – that’s me as a dad. “Next time I see that Bleeker kid I’m going to punch him in the wiener.” Yeah, that’s me. Watch and enjoy.

No Country for Old Men – Whoa… Alright, let me put it this way. I am a HUGE Coen Brothers fan. And even I was still unprepared for just how great this movie could be. The Coens can really excel with this type of movie – one that can be so completely riveting and frustrating at the same time. As a warning, the ending will leave a lot of people aggravated, but there shouldn’t be any tidy endings when dealing with such a terrible set of events. And as far as acting… Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Kelly McDonald and… and… hmm. I seem to remember someone else… Oh that’s right, Javier Bardem as possible the most intimidating killer to ever grace the big screen. If the scene with the gas station attendant doesn’t absolutely chill you to the bone, I don’t know what will. I’m really glad the Two-Headed Director won for this one.

Into the Wild – Probably the best film of ’07. I expected to enjoy it, but the story of Chris McCandless is quite fascinating and touching. While some people may feel Sean Penn is just idolizing him, I think it’s actually a very even telling that shows the good with the bad. McCandless connected with a lot of different people in very positive ways. Unfortunately he had a tragic flaw and didn’t understand that these social connections aren’t just niceties, but necessities. It’s the sad tale of someone going from one extreme to the other, and not realizing his mistake until it was too late. I definitely recommend this to everyone.

Superbad – Once it started with all of the vulgarity, I thought it was going to suck. But it gets better and better all the way to the end. And it has a major ingredient for being and awesome film: Michael Cera. Evan, Seth and McLovin are all great teenage characters. The “wacky hijinks” they go through this one night trying to get alcohol for a party are funny, but it’s the tale of their friendships and how much things change in your late teens that really made me enjoy the movie.

Enchanted – If I didn’t already have a crush on Amy Adams, I would now. The best way to sum this movie up: Delightful! I know that sounds corny, but Enchanted is big pile of fun that hits on all of the typical Disney stereotypes – embracing and making fun of them all at once. It’s worth it just for the scene when Amy calls for her animal friends to help her clean up Patrick Dempsey’s apartment and, instead of the usual group of woodland creatures, gets an army of pigeons, rats and cockroaches. Seriously hysterical. Even James Marsden puts on a great performance as the classic Prince Charming character. This is like a classic Disney flick – great for kids and adults.

The Darjeeling Limited – THIS IS A WES ANDERSON FILM. You know how I know that? Because every scene was done so that would be reminded that THIS IS A WES ANDERSON FILM. I love Wes. Rushmore ranks as one of my alltime favorites and The Life Aquatic was brilliant. Even though I though The Royal Tennenbaums was extremely overrated, I still enjoyed it. But he pretty much ruined what was a great idea for a movie with this one. The direction goes beyond quirkiness and just gets in the way of the storytelling. It’s a shame, because there truly were some great moments – the characters and the actors were all solid – but the movie itself felt like an amateurish parody of Anderson films.

Whew! I skipped a few classics that I may talk about later, and I also need to write about the horror movies I watched. Otherwise, this is a good breaking point before I kick off some more viewing to clean off my HTPC.

EDIT: Darn it all to heck! I knew I’d forget one. Dan in Real Life – The first half is great. The second half is predictable. Overall a nice movie, but missed out on being great. Regardless, Steve Carell is awesome.


In a word: INTENSE!

I could add a few other words, but I think I’ll stick with intense. Oh, and awesome – definitely awesome.

I’m not going to go into any details here, but Cloverfield was a great monster movie – that’s all you need to know. Wait, there’s one more thing you should know: if you saw the trailer and thought, “I hope this isn’t a movie shot in an amateur, handy-cam style following a group of people as they fight their way across Manhattan to save a friend during a monster attack, because that would suck”… DON’T SEE IT!

This movie is not for everyone. There are plenty of people who just aren’t up for it or aren’t interested in the style. But because of that, you’ll get moronic reviews like the one in the New York Times, which should have been titled “I Feel Superior For Not Liking This Movie”. I’ve got no problem with someone not enjoying Cloverfield, but don’t claim it’s because of poor execution on a bad idea. Just deal with the fact that you don’t like it.

Sorry, I’m just getting sick of the over analysis and polarization of movies these days. Just because you didn’t like a movie does not make it the worst film ever. Just because you saw a Korean monster movie that was released in the US less than a year before this began filming does not mean it’s just another American knock-off. Just because the entire film is not spelled out for you so that you can answer every question possible, including what the monster’s favorite color is, does not make this an abject failure. Just because you didn’t get into a movie concept like this does not mean it is strictly for teenagers and should be avoided by anyone over 30. And just because a lot of people enjoyed a movie that you didn’t does not make you superior.

I’m glad I got that off my chest. So to recap: Cloverfield was intense and awesome and you should absolutely enjoy it if the trailer looks like something you want to see. Personally I am now excited to go through all of the online viral stuff and then watch it again…

Hitchcock rocks my socks

Not to be outdone by SciFi’s Twilight Zone Marathon, HDNet Movies has been playing nothing but Hitchcock movies. What a frickin’ genius. I finally got to watch The Birds – even though the effects don’t quite hold up over time, that’s still one scary movie. For the best experience, make sure you have a parakeet in the room. It adds a three-dimensional effect to the sounds – that sparrow attack freaked me out man…

One of the all-time greats, Rear Window, is coming on, but we’re on our way out to toast the New Year in the presence of actual friends – a rare occurrence these days. That’s also why I’m not doing any sort of year-end wrap-up right now. Yeah, I’ll stick with that excuse. Tomorrow will be time for house cleaning on this site along with moments of reflection. That sounds way more serious than it will be.

Hope you all have a great frickin’ New Year!