Saturday, January 24, 2009

Favorite song of the moment, Part II

Aside from "Can't Stop Me," it's....

The-Dream - "Rockin' That Thang Like"

What a monster of a song. The Dream is officially the R&B king...Ne-Yo, a close second now. The proof is in the man's uncanny retro-goodness and unique new-wave soul. I'd post "She Needs My Love" as further evidence, but fudge that.

"The M.B. Remix," sample lyrics: "I'm tipsy, in the zone/ I wanna change her name, to Mrs. Barone"

If this spins at tonight's NYC nightclub destination, the dancefloor won't know what hit it. Promise.

Netflix Fix -- Virgin Witch (1972)

Some movies just make you feel dirty while watching. Pornos fall into this category, obviously, but I'm speaking on actual "films," flicks you'd find outside of that seedy backroom in your local video store haunt. It's the way the film is shot, the amounts of gratuitous nudity and/or unflinching gore. Nine times out of ten the film was made sometime before 1990, and doesn't have a known-star-name in credits' sight.

Not to say that watching this type of movie is something to frown upon. Not even. Granted, I toss these DVDs into my bedroom's player, not the living room, where the roommate or any passers-in can see. Explaining myself or the movie itself is just too much awkward work, and I prefer keeping a semi-normal air about myself. If people walked in on me watching, say, Cannibal Holocaust or I Spit On Your Grave, the screw-faces and damning inner-dialogue I'd be met with wouldn't be pretty. Far from attractive. Unpleasant, to the umpth.


Virgin Witch is just that breed of film. Up until a week ago, I'd never even heard of it; my knowledge of obscure British cinema doesn't extend far beyond the Hammer-produced horror films I hunted down on VHS as a kid. But as I was skimming through one of my fave websites, Ain't It Cool News, early last week, per daily usual, I noticed something where one Edgar Wright---the super-skilled and infinitely-and-awesomely-geek-ish filmmaker behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz---wrote a column singling out a movie that he loved and felt others needed to be more aware of. His choice, Virgin Witch, and his enthusiasm while explaining the plot and expressing his admiration immediately sent me to my Netflix Queue to experience the flick myself.

Am I sure that I didn't just watch a '70s British porno that employed a horror-twist? Barely. I'd venture to say that Virgin Witch is like the Holy Grail for breast-loving men; tons of nipples and boobs, in that unkept, natural, silicon-free old-school way. The plot, meanwhile, is fairly simple stuff. It's like Suspiria, only with double the protagonists, way less scares and an unavoidable thread of inferiority.The film opens up with two young-ish girls hitchhiking, apparently having just ran away for some unexplained reason. This rich guy picks them up, and then puts them up in his apartment. The one girl, Christina, dreams of being a model, and she comes across an ad for a new agency, which she consults and ultimately decides to head out to the countryside with her friend to shoot for. Only, the supposed modeling agency turns out to be a coven of witches looking for some naked, hot, young female tail to offer as sacrifices.

Typical America's Next Top Model territory, basically. Tyra Banks being the unholy witch, of course.


Virgin Witch isn't a terrible flick, yet it didn't do too much for me. For the first 40-45 minutes, it's pretty damn boring, plodding along with flirtation after flirtation, exposed breast after exposed nip. Which I'm never mad at, but I'm more partial to hot chicks doing interesting things, rather than middling. And serve as extra goodies in a story that makes sense. There's far too many scenes in Virgin Witch that literally had me shouting, "What the fuck?!" Prime example: in the already-mentioned scene where the rich guy picks up the two women (or sisters? are they sisters? who cares), the guy is talking to them and not minding the dark, nighttime road; as they're about to hit some object on the road thanks to guy's reckless driving, the one sister screams "Look out!" After he swerves and avoids disaster, he retorts, "You must be able to see in the dark," to which the other girl says, "She can." And then the camera pans to the dark-seer as she stares menacingly into it, backed by a Gothic piano key. Yet, never again is this dark-seeing ability mentioned or seen. The point of it? Fuck if I know. Bad screenwriting being exhibited, intentionally? Doubtful, but it'd seem correct enough.

Here's another: early on, the sisters are walking down a busy public street, in mid-day, wearing very-short miniskirts. This sleazy guy walks by them and not-so-nonchalantly grabs the ass of one of the girls. Instead of slapping him or causing a who-the-fuck-do-you-think-you-are ruckus, as any self-respected lady would do, she starts giggling along with her terribly-unprotective sister. Nice.

Somebody ask for unnecessary plot-derailing scenes? Perfect, 'cause we got 'em here. Such as, when the rich dude, who is named Johnny, for disclosure's sake, watches his cheating girlfriend, who is lifeless, stage-presence-deficient lounge singer, perform for what feels like an eternity but is actually like five minutes. But that's about four minutes and 3o second too many, since the scene is meaningless and only acts as a "Johnny still cares about that one hitchhiking sister he nearly fucked but was cockblocked by the other sister's impromptu modeling plans." Perhaps if Johnny were even a slightly-intriguing character, written with a shred of layering, such a scene wouldn't induce agony. But he isn't, and it does.

Could I have spent my Saturday afternoon doing something more contructive than sitting through Virgin Witch? Absolutely. I could've went to the gym, or read a book, or further worked on some ideas I've been brewing for the last week. Sometimes, though, a guy like me just feels like taking in some crappy schlock cinema, even when I'm fully aware of how shitty it will be, and how much time it'll waste. Call it movie-watching masochism. Whatever floats your boat, won't sink my ship. Profound, eh? No? Wanna fight about it?

Behold.....Stains, the dog with batshit-crazy eyes

Let's take a vote: The Soup = funniest show on TV?

Depending on my mood on the given day, it could earn my tally-point.

I played this more than Brad Pitt did Miss Aniston


Last week, I did a little post centered on the old video game console of my youth, and ever since I haven't been able to stop dreaming about somehow playing Streets of Rage 2 again. Somehow, someway. It was a game that I could easily conquer in one sitting, yet I'd literally do said conquering once a day, sometimes twice if the schedule was light enough.

Streets of Rage 2 will forever hold the crown as "Best Video Game Ever Made," and those who feel differently, go forth and watch Philosopher Billy Madison debate the merits of Donkey Kong in the cafeteria, and simply insert Streets of Rage 2 in Donkey Kong's place.

Just give me Max Thunder, and watch me barrel through skater punks and trashy bikers; or request that I play with Axel Stone, and prepare to feel the "Grand Upper!"s and atomic force of a baseball hat to the skull. Or, an option that was more my speed back in my more innocent, discovering-the-opposite-sex days, let me play with cutie Blaze (in more ways than one, would've been the preferred scenario....double entendres about video game characters = sad).

You can keep puny, useless Skate, though. Speed and agility gets you nowhere but to "Game Over" land when you have 12 thugs all last-named Signal surrounding you on a pirate ship.

And how about the music here? I hate techno music as much as the next DJ-Premier-loving head, but if this shit came on in a club, I'd knock back some Petron, grab a glowstick, and find the nearest probably-on-drugs chick and watch her "rock that thang like..." (that The-Dream song jams hard, btw).

If Blaze were a real person, she'd be the first on-the-dancefloor dame I'd inch my way over to:

***Okay, this was officially the biggest nerd-post I've done yet. Kinda fun, though. Shall be plenty more like it....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Favorite song of the moment is.....

Jadakiss - "Can't Stop Me"

That's what I'm talkin' about. Feels good on the ears, and Jada is still one of the best doing it. Finally, a mainstream rap album for me to get excited about.

Terrible-sounding movie breeds a great Photoshopped image

Came across this totally-fake yet totally-brilliant Photoshop job earlier, and felt it'd be a crime for me to not share it with the six people who regularly check my site out.

Backstory: 50 Cent, or "the worst actor alive; see Righteous Kill for proof" (a Matt Barone quote), has been trying to get this movie called The Dance made for at least a year now, where he'd play a prison inmate/boxer who's recruited by some more-powerful dude (Nicolas Cage) for some kind of money-earning fight circuit. I guess. Nicolas Cage has become the N.O.R.E of Hollywood, a once-strong talent who has progressively gone to shit. Pair him with Curtis No-act-son and I'm sure the result would be enough to cause a Scanners-like outbreak of exploding heads in the theater. That, or simply a mass exodus of early-exit-walkers. But both scenarios are possibilities now, since 50 started a film production company and The Dance is one of his top priorities to make. Yikes.

All that now explained, here's the picture inspired by said news story about The Dance:


Genius. Step Up 2 The Streets of Queens

Picture made over at: Film Drunk

Hoop Spleens/Leg Splints

Was talking about WPIX/Channel 11's old, amazing "Shocktober" ritual with a co-worker before, and I brought up the forgotten Wes Craven flick Deadly Friend, which starred the once-girl-of-my-dreams Kristy Swanson as a girl who dies but is then brought back to life by her BFF. But, being a cheesy horror movie, she of course comes back a bit less normal, a bit more homicidal.

This scene says it all. And if you seriously think this scene needs any real analysis or justification, I don't even wanna know you.

And then there's this fellow "Shocktober" flick, the so-inferior-to-its-predecessor-that-its-scary Creepshow 2. Inferior, yes, but not without its fair share of great moments, this being numero uno (skip to the 5:20 mark). This image fucked up me for years, and still makes me wince like a little bitch:

Surprise, surprise

I know absolutely zilch about this one, but this trailer is eye-catching-ly intriguing. Independently made, that's for sure, and produced on what I'd guess was about a budget equal to the amount of $$$ Joaquin Phoenix pays his dealer per meeting. But it seems ambitious as hell, and looks impressive despite its limited resources. That quick shot of the black-and-white-filmed guy with the glasses on stands out.

The name's Ink, and I have no clue if and when I'll ever see it. Certainly want to, though. It's supposed to premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, which I'm pretty sure is either this or next week. One day I'll be RSVPed for all these festivals; o' goal o' mine.


Trailer discovered over at: Cinematical

Jim Carrey dances better than you

Just kidding. Or am I? (Depending on who sees this)

For sending this clip my way, I must thank the Starr herself .

That movie with the Nazi zombies will actually hit theaters....

....some time this year, thanks to IFC Films picking it up for a limited release. Meaning, it'll only play at the awesome IFC Theater in downtown Manhattan, but that's fine by me. The experience of watching David Lynch's headfuck Inland Empire at that theater is still a defining moment in my movie-going saga. Never have I felt so otherworldly, spacey; honestly, I didn't fully snap back to reality until mid-day the following one. Damn, when will Lynch make a new brain-stomping labyrinth of nonsense and subversive genius?

Anyway, here's a taste of said Nazi zombie film, the Norwegian "sensation" Dead Snow. Not much in the way of actual zombies here, but the clip does include vomited, fake-looking blood and chainsaw dissection. And if you can't have some undead Fuhrer-followers in a clip, I always say that cartoon-ish blood is the best alternative.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Me, Myself & I; Party of Three

Disconnection can be a bit overwhelming, dangerous even if its widespread in a given situation.

If I weren't such an insecure, self-questioning person, I'd wonder if I operated with an air of pretention. But in order to come off as pretentious, a person has to feel above everybody else in the room. I, on the other hand, rarely cop to feeling superior. It's the polar opposite, even.

So when I'm sitting in a room full of peers and people with sort-of-similar interests, you'd think that I'd feel at home. Or at least content. That's not the case, unfortunately. Sitting uncomfortably and self-consciously in a lounge-setting, I glance around at those sharing my presence and wonder why I can't genuinely gel with them. Sure, a few here and there are able to give me that "okay, this conversation feels good" sensation, but not enough.

Bring up a topic such as my favorite French horror film Inside and we're even Steven. Discuss the desire to write either short or long prose/fiction, and I'm a chatterbox when I'm not all open, interested ears. Or simply engage me in a human-to-concerned-human exchange of "how's your family, personal life" banter and I'll most likely reciprocate the inquiries.

But attempt to debate the merits of an Internet rap beef with me, and nowadays I instantly shut down. Mentally fade to black. Wonder internally why I can't get excited by the possibilities of going tit-for-better-rapper-tat. Present me with anything work-related, whether it be story ideas or clients you represent and want in a publication I have clout with, and I'll immediately haul ass to the bar for another drink, and take my sweet-ass time decicing on which overpriced beer to request.

I'm a creature fueled by preferences and secual interests, and lately I've found myself unable to adapt, or revert backward to cohabitate amidst people conversing about topics I deem "insignificant" in either my own or life's bigger picture. The difference between film chatter and musical conversation is elementary, really: when going back-and-forth about cinema, the merits fall strictly upon your respective defensive-talking-point's artistic quality; but with music, especially hip-hop, it's all about who sold more records, or who has a bigger buzz, or---God forbid somebody uses this word to state their peace anywhere near me, lest I promptly write them off as a "cool-chasing jackass drone"--- whose "swagger is better. And that's trivial like pursuit.

Again, this isn't me being pretentious in the slightest. Rather, it's me speaking from a place that I truly feel is heartfelt and both-sides-experienced. It's a crazy world these days, and I'm merely looking out for my future's best interests.

I just needed to drop these thoughts in written form somewhere, and what better/easier place than here? Just give me some DVDs, a good mystery/suspense/horror fiction book and/or graphic novel, and I'm as pleased as a canine lying on a bed of Snausages, shielding itself from the cold with a rawhide-blanket. If you're somebody who feels the same, then I'll connect with you, no question. Otherwise, if you're somebody who'd rather be socializing with riff-raff and feeling like you're somebody "important," go that way.

It's so haaaarddd.

To drop $11 on this, or to put that $11 toward EC Comics: Tales from the Crypt, Volume One?

Donkey Punch, an "extreme" pretty-faces-get-bloodied-up thriller from overseas that's received mostly positive reviews, but feels a bit too "seen this, liked that" for me to instantly shell out cold cash for. Decision time comes Monday, which would be the only open night for me to catch this one.

This clip don't make the choice any easier.

Note, this first clip explains the film's title. And yes, the title refers to that. I've already started outlining a spinoff script of my own, Blumpkin.

2009 Oscar nominations: reactions, frustrations, etc.

[This post also will appear on the KING site ....why not, right?]


This year's Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and, for the most part, they feel just about right. Most of the shoe-in, expected ones are present, while a few shockers and wild cards pulled through. Without getting too deep into things, I can't let this particular nomination-crop go by without offering a few knee-jerk reactions that have me either elated or ready to flip the Academy my middle-digit bird.

First, here's the entire list of nominations, for disclosure purposes: thanks, IMDB

Here goes....positive vibes first....


--In Bruges' screenwriter (and director) Martin McDonaugh scoring a nod for Best Original Screenplay: This one was totally unseen, and shows a bit of testicular fortitude on the Academy's part. In Bruges pretty much evaporated from the box office with little fanfare, but that only meant that audiences were too busy seeing and too slow to catch on. In Bruges is hilarious, sardonic, unpredictable, violent, and such a unique beast that, after watching it, I felt like I'd just seen an entire crime genre flipped on its head and shot to hell in a flurry of bullet-spit, creating a whole new lane all its own. It's nice to know that those with true opinion-power agree.

--The Wrestler's Marisa Tomei earning a Best Actress in a Supporting Role shout: I'll ignore my basic carnal attraction to cougar-extraordinaire Tomei for the time being....The Wrestler remains my favorite film of '08, and I really would've been happy if it had scored a Best Picture nom over a certain Holocaust snoozer (more on that later), but knowing that Tomei's raw, brave, and completely naked (both figuratively and literally in this case) performance has become a front-runner in this category without Kate Winslet/Revolutionary Road competition is quite snug. If Tomei loses this one, that aforementioned middle-digit bird will fly high, and ultimately give way to furious tirades.

--Michael Shannon's sneak attack, landing a much-deserved but widely-unexpected Best Actor in a Supporting Role nod for Revolutionary Road: This one could be the most unexpected nomination in my Oscar-following history. Dude had zero awards' season buzz up 'til now, outside of widespread critical acclaim (concurring with my own high-praise stance for the guy) for his truly-disturbed, even sharply-comical turn as a released mental patient who singe-handedly tips the Wheelers' (Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio) disintegrating marriage off the iceberg (right ahead!). Hell, I thought Shannon deserved some bigtime recognition his insane work in last year's slept-over-and-on Bug, but beggars no choose. Heath Ledger will clearly, and deservedly, win this award, but Shannon's nomination alone screams "vaildation," and that's all good in my book.

--The Visitor's inconspicuous Richard Jenkins beating Clint Eastwood for a Best Actor nomination: Like many, I thought the Academy would throw Sir Eastwood a "in honor of your career, we'll recognize your supposed-final acting job" bone, which would've deleted Jenkins from the running. Eastwood is more-than-solid in Gran Torino, but the film itself is way too forced; it stuffs subtlety up its poorly-written ass and fires racial slurs upon heavyhanded youth-gone-to-shit-and-elders-know-it imagery. The Visitor, on the other hand, is a film I foolishly ignored when it was in limited release back in early '08, but the heaps of adoration that Jenkins kept receiving prompted me to hit up on Netflix, and what a stripped-down, meat-and-taters heart-grabber of a film it is. Thanks in mammoth part to Jenkins, who plays an old, closed-off sourpuss enlightened by some spontaneous exposure to culture and immigration drama with understated elegance. The fact that Jenkins also co-starred in Step Brothers last year doesn't hurt, either, in terms of my utmost respect for him.

--Robert Downey Jr. bringing Tropic Thunder to the Oscars with his Best Actor in a Supporting Role look: Tropic Thunder was, and, well, still is, damn funny, but I'm sure even Ben Stiller would admit that the source of about 88% of its "funny" is Robert Downey Jr.'s totally-committed and sublime "blackface" Kirk Lazarus performance. Every line he drops is gold, and every scene he's in becomes one you wish wouldn't end. It's like the comedic equivalent to Heath Ledger's presence in The Dark Knight. And considering the amazing 2008 that Downey Jr. had, seasoned filmgoers can't help but be proud of the man. Well done.

And now, to bring the mood down a bit....


--The Reader for Best Picture over The Dark Knight??? Fuck outta here: I can only imagine the levels of anger comic book lovers are feeling right now. This seriously reeks of "oh, but it's a comic book film, and we're suckers for melodramatic, obvious Oscar-baiting Holocaust stuff like The Reader, and we the Academy get off on being pandered to, and have no backbone to salute a truly genre-redefining wonder that just happens to star a dude in new-age black tights." I finally saw The Reader last week, and aside from Kate Winslet's great work, its really nothing to write home about; in fact, I'd write home only to warn my mother, who wants to see it, that she'd be better off waiting for the Youtube compilation that strings together all of Winslet's scenes. Everything else is a bit of a sheep-count. Deep down, I'd also love to see The Wrestler over The Reader here, or even Wall-E, but The Dark Knight is the most deserving, and therefore the most snubbed. Not only does this passing-over trivialize the movie, but it immediately cancels out a Best Director nom for Christopher Nolan, and that's downright criminal. Slumdog Millionaire is totally going to win this category anyway, but if by some cruel hell-spawned twist of fate The Reader takes home the gold, I'm going to turn my middle-digit bird stance into a swarm of winged-firebreathers that even Alfred Hitchcock couldn't have imagined.....So yeah, this one really grinds my gears.

--Taraji P. Henson's painfully-hammy performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button getting a Best Actress in a Supporting Role nom: Look, I really like Ms. Henson. Always have, always will. She's such a charismatic and powerful presence on screen, and she's gone unfairly overlooked for smaller roles in flicks like Talk To Me. But, her ...Benjamin Button performance just didn't work. A bit too "Ohhh, lord, Jesus, my sweeeeet child!" for my liking. All this nomination proves to me is that every year, the Academy harps on one particular film and basically nominates anybody who had more than 20-minutes-involvement (well, except for Cate Blanchett in this case). And Henson's "important" character in the story was too prominent to go unnoticed, I guess. Whatever. She won't win, anyway. I'd be much happier if Rachel Getting Married's Rosemarie Dewitt beat Henson out here. Now that was a supporting performance that, at many times, upstaged its dominant leading counterpart, and rang loudly in the "genuinely touching" department. A damn shame.

--Angelina Jolie's vanity-driven Best Actress nomination for Changeling: The more detached I became from Changeling weeks after seeing and initially admiring the flick, I started realizing that it isn't all that wonderful. Not a bad film, by any means, but one that's a wee-bit jumbled and overlong, and is saved by the un-fuck-up-able weight of its tremendous source material/true story. Thoughts on the actual film aside here, though....Angelina Jolie's performance isn't Best Actress worthy, by any means. It certainly looks Best Actress worthy, and on paper must've read Best Actress worthy. But it's way too much "I want my son!" screaming and not enough believable anguish. For me, at least. I'd hate to think that the Academy singled her out simply to earn some "cool points" from pop culture heads, but in this day and age, it's surely possible.

There it is. A few more Awesomes than Loathesomes, so all in all a pretty on-point year for nominations. Finally, here are my personal picks for the top categories, just so my two-cents is counted somewhere, anywhere:

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Best Director: David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonaugh (In Bruges)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Many Plot-Holes of Lost

In honor of tonight's long-anticipated, sure-to-rock-the-shit fifth season premiere of Lost.... Don't even bother calling or emailing me any time between 8pm-10pm.

If you're a Lost die-hard such as myself, then this all-too-true, well-researched list over at Topless Robot will register as heavily as college kids at a semester's beginning.

"10 Clues the Writers of Lost are Making It Up as They Go Along"

And extra props for ranking that cot damn four-toed statue so high, Topless Robot. I'll surely finish my Lost run without having ever seen it again. I've accepted the defeat.

Behold the image, yet again, that has frustrated me more than any other:

UPDATE: Just came across this over at Entertainment Weekly's site, reporter/Lost expert Jeff "Doc" Jensen's "10 Key Things to Know for Season 5 on a nice refresher for tonight.

Half as good as Shaun of the Dead would be good enough for me

News spotted over at: JoBlo

Maybe my head is screwed on a bit too tight at times, but I'm not the biggest fan of horror comedies. If done well, of course, I love them. Just see my undying appreciation for Shaun of the Dead, or the ages-well An American Werewolf in London. Sometimes, this subgenre can also win me over without knocking me over, such as last year's good-but-not-great English slasher flick The Cottage. But in my opinion, good "horror comedies" are the minority, more akin to never-should've-been-made bile the likes of Broken Lizard's Club Dread, or Idol Hands, or, yes, Snakes on a Plane (some call it "fun," but its thick layers of cheese spoiled fast in my eyes).

When it comes to horror, I take my films seriously. Perhaps too seriously, but so goes it. If I want to laugh, I'll watch Family Guy, or The Office, or Flight of the Conchords. Quality horror, though, is tougher to find, so when I do come across well-made flicks, I want them to either disturb or chill, not amuse (unless they're of the awesomely-bad, The Happening type).

I'm saying all this not to ramble on and on again about the horror genre, but to set-up some horror-comedy news that I'm actually excited about. Chud, shot the shit with SNL regular/all-around-funny-guy Bill Hader out at Sundance, and he revealed a some pretty unexpected yet welcome scoop: he's currently co-writing a slasher-comedy script that director/producer/comedy titan Judd Apatow (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express) has interest in. As Hader describes it, it'd be a slacker comedy that's "partially STRAW DOGS meets HALLOWEEN meets HOME ALONE meets MONSTER SQUAD." Four films I love....I'm game.



Apatow is one of these Hollywood busy-men who becomes attached to several great-sounding projects at once yet very few of these "announced" films ever materialize. So don't expect to see this slasher-comedy any time soon. But something tells me it'd a winner if it ever surfaces. If I can throw my two-cents in, how about casting Olivia Thirlby as the main slacker's funny, "get out and get a job or I'm leaving you" girlfriend? I read how she and Apatow sort of fell out over her losing a role in Pineapple Express (as she said in New York magazine), but how about giving their union the Patch Adams treatment, for my sake, at least.

Because I really don't see enough of Thirlby, and that's a shame. Looks like I'll have to post a picture here to rectify this:

Much better.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shedding blood-red tears tonight....

....over the unfair, tragic demise of Monsters HD.

R.I.P. (2003-2009)

For reasons unexplainable (at least through my understanding), wonderful Channel 777 is now little more than a blue screen with cringe-causing words sprayed across: This Channel has Ceased Operations And Will No Longer Be Available. Now all I'm left with is painfully-inferior Chiller, Channel 168, and that's some bullshit. Inexcusably, Chiller has a programing hard-on for lame shows such as Freaky Links and not-even-worthy-of-DVD-rental, C-grade films the likes of Chupacabra and Voodoo Moon. Just stab me in the eye and get it over with, Chiller. The regular Tales from the Crypt reruns are Chiller's only saving grace.

Thanks to Monsters HD, I've been able to watch gems like The Monster Squad and Day of the Dead on cable television, uncensored. And that's a luxury I doubt I'll ever be awarded again. I was able to learn all about the history of EC Comics' Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror anthologies, and have the sexier-with-age Elvira "Mistress of the Dark" intro brief documentaries on icons of Stan Winston caliber.


And now its all gone. Lost in the shitty programmer oblivion.

If I had any beers left in the fridge, I'd twist a cap and knock one back in Monsters HD's honor. But alas, my kitchen is sans cerveza, so it's back to the DVD collection. Suspiria starts in T-minus ten minutes, followed by Alice, Sweet Alice and Halloween 2....just how Monsters HD would've liked it.

Once again, America's horror lovers get raped in the poop-shoot. "Well, there's always Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and The Uninvited on the horizon, right?" Whatever. If even one of those flicks ends up being anything other than exactly what I'm predicting, I'll voluntarily dress up like Elvira and stroll down Washington Street here in Hoboken. Shit you not.

Who is Ashley Leggat, and where has she been all my life?'s homepage news alerts just put me on to something special. Buried within a list breakdown of "Disney's stars" was a piece of eye tastiness that I'd never even knew existed. Because, well, I'm not 14 years old and never watch the Disney Channel. Miley Cyrus annoys the fuck out of me, and the fact that The Jonas Brothers are from Wyckoff, New Jersey, a town where my extended family owns and operates a cigar store, is a bit too close for comfort.

And I have no plans to start watching now, despite my newfound smitten-nature over one Ashley Leggat. I have no clue who she is, really, other than that she stars on some show called Life With Derek (good looks, IMDB!). She's of very-legal age, though, 23, and will hopefully transition into more adult territories sooner than later. 'Cause, as long as she's on the network run by Sir M. Mouse, I'll never shake this creepy-older-man stigma I'm suffering.


For no other reason than to feel some good vibes....

Classic song, heard for the first time in years through the open window of a car passing by during an earlier lunch break. Could be a "top three R&B song of all time," after some focused deliberation that I'm in no mood to do at the moment.

I challenge anybody to not smile while listening. Winners will be questioned for having no organ where their heart is supposed to be.

Please, don't fuck this up.....

Picture spotted over at: DListed , it was too good to pass up

Finally, what seemed like a decade's worth of "Obama will do this, Obama will be that" comes to an end today. And the actual show-and-prove time kicks in. Everything we've hoped for and put stock into is meaningless now; it's all on him. No pressure or anything, but this country can't handle another "epic fail," as the online hipster kiddies are saying these days.

I'm ready. Going to continue living my life the ways I see fit and vital, just as I was while that jerkoff from Texas was in office for the last dreadul eight calendars. I think Obama will do just fine, as long as people realize that the Obama-delivered changes you're dreaming about won't happen any time soon. That we gotta give the man some time to put in the necessary work. As hard as it sounds, patience is our key to "salvation," if I'll use an overly-dramatic word that others aren't even blinking an eye to say about President Barack.

The real campaign beings now. Americans, start your speculative engines.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Netflix Fix -- 13 Tzameti (2006)

If I were a Hollywood studio suit looking for innovative and boundary-nudging films, I'd have moved my ass right out to France years ago. The French stronghold on horror is no mystery (at least not to myself or those who value my two-or-three cents). The more I take in the French entries in other genres, though, I realize that those Eiffel Tower-claiming bastards know how to kick ass no matter what category.


Prime example: 13 Tzameti, a festival hit back in 2006 that's currently being remade (surprise, surprise) here in the States, as simply 13, although this one's a redo with some credibility at least, considering that 13 Tzameti writer/direct Gela Babluani is also scripting and shooting the stateside version. Meaning, it's in the best possible hands, no matter how the final product's outcome ends up. And the cast is pretty solid: Mickey Rourke, Ray Liotta, Ray Winstone (The Departed's "Frenchie"), cutie Emmanuelle Chriqui, and awesome deranged-character-actor Michael Shannon. Oh, and 50 Cent is in it too, sooo unfortunately, but hopefully his character is the first to bite the huge one. What? He's just an atrocious actor. Why he's even cast in this to begin with isn't worth my energy to ponder.

Shot in black-and-white, 13 Tzameti is centered around one great idea: Russian Roullette as a spectators' sport. A down-on-his-financial luck immigrant named Sebastian is helping remodel a man's home in the hopes of earning some cash to help his struggling family. Within days of his work, unfortunately, his employer overdoses, lying dead in his bathtub after opening a mysterious letter that a friend told him would lead him to some serious money. Sebastian, having overheard this talk of "serious money," finds the dead man's letter and follows its instructions, which lead him to a secret meeting of gangster-types and suit-and-tied rich folks in a grungy hotel, where 13 players stand in a circle pointing a gun at the player in front of them. Once the moderator gives the word, each player spins the gun's cylinder repeatedly until told to stop. Seconds later, each player pulls his pistol's trigger. The lucky ones, the players that have empty chambers jammed to the backs of their heads, survive to the next round; the others, its wrap city. Standing around the circle of random murder are the aforementioned rich folks, placing bets on who'll live. Gambling, Grim Reaper's style.


What starts out as a run-of-the-mill "guy tries to make ends meet but keeps hitting dead ends" story quickly amplifies into some rather sharp suspense once the hammers are cocked and bodies begin to drop. Spinning the camera around the center of the circle, zooming in on the petrified and exhilirated faces of the numbered-shirt-wearing players, Babluani shoots the game-playing portion of 13 Tzameti like a pro. Which is all the more impressive when you consider that this was the guys first-ever film, and that he made it at the ripe age of 26. The central idea of "killing for sport" is damn bleak, nihilism at play, and gives the feeling that Babluani sees humanity through a pretty bleak lens. Anonymous men drop big bills just to watch unknown lads blow each others' brains out, while the unknown lad players voluntarily put their lives on the line just to make a heavy buck. Money is indeed a thing here.

The ending is a ballsy, sucker-punching downer, too, which is always welcome to me. Happy endings rarely feel "real," what can I say?


I wasn't blown away once the flick ended, though. Highly entertained and partially adrenaline-charged, yes, but not left thinking, "Wow!" The scenes padding the central Russian Roullette stuff serve their purposes storytelling-wise, but are far less compelling and diminish in comparison. To blame here is the film's leading man's minimal on-screen presence. 13 Tzameti is totally Babluani's show, a pretty engrossing ride that maintains its grip thanks to his unpredictable script and fearless direction. The acting, on the other hand, isn't much to write home about, never terrible but rarely commanding enough. Better than the actual overall performances are the faces of the actors here, a collection of some really tough-looking dudes that fits into the barbaric storyline nicely.

Especially lacking in chops, though, is, again, the dude who plays Sebastian, a taller, lankier James Franco look-a-like named George Babluani (ahh, family member nepotism....makes sense now). He's utterly one-note, a problem considering that Sebastian goes through a gauntlet of conflicting emotions and soul-searched-for brutality. It's an interesting character made lifelessly robotic by bland-man George. He only has one facial expression: an open-mouthed daze. Like the one beard-growing friend in Knocked Up...the one that Jason Segel makes fun of for only making one face.

Even though it was made in good ol' France, the flick has a subtle old-school-Hollywood-film-noir feel, mainly because of the black-and-white. Babluani takes his time before exploding into a downhill tumbler of naturalistic shocks. I'd go as far as to say that 13 Tzameti's "money-minded murder" concept is even more chilling than the Hostel films. In those Eli Roth "torture porn" jobs, the gore and can-I-top-myself-with-the-next-elaborate-death zeal crosses the line beyond genuine unease and becomes shock for simply shock-value's sake. The gangster-organized Russian Roullette ring seen in 13 Tzameti comes from a much darker place. Those in harm's way have put themselves there intentionally, taking vulnerability out of the picture. Voluntary self-slaughter. Any innocence is crumbled up and chewed like gum, then spit out like bullets. You're more fascinated as to why these guys would play the game, not sympathetic like you are when watching unsuspecting victims take buzzsaws to their foreheads in Hostel. And I'd take fascination over sympathy any day.


13 Tzameti is its own kind of violent beast, and for that I salute Gela Babluani. It's an original idea executed with unflinching precision. If a stronger actor would've anchored it, it very well could have been an undeniably great film. In time, I'll see if Babluani can solve this flick's problems in his American second try, which will ride on the shoulders of relative unknown Sam Riley, who'll play the "Sebastian" role. Riley apparently brings down the house in the British rock biopic Control, so promise is imminent.

A cool hundred bucks says that the Hollywood brass force Babluani to change the original's ending, though. If he hasn't already on his own. Punishing, unrewarding final scenes rarely fly in these parts, regrettably.

But, yeah, 50 Cent. Fuck. Can somebody stick him for his SAG card pronto.

Netflix Fix -- Repulsion (1965)

Pitch a movie to me with little more than "one person's cascading descent into madness," and I can almost guarantee that I'll reach its end credits a convinced supporter. Because when detailing the downfall of an individual's sanity, the possiblities of narrative devices and imagery are endless. To each his own. One man's source of indifference is another man's mental kryptonite. For somebody stricken with a phobia of cars, simply walking down the street can open the doors of nightmare. A woman scared of intimacy can be locked in a broken elevator with three strange-looking chaps, causing her tensions to boil over into murderous outbursts. And so on.

Edgar Allen Poe's stories are some of the best examples of dementia-gone-down-the-tubes. "The Raven" brings the depressing hopelessness of loneliness into psychotic territory, while "The Tell-Tale Heart" performs similar disturbed-plastic-surgery on basic forms of guilt. There isn't one person on this drama-plagued planet Earth that hasn't, at one point or another, suffered from a strong feeling that veers more toward the negative side of things. And in telling tales of impending madness, a storyteller has complete freedom to go to town. Nothing is too taboo, creativity is given the "green light." What drives a person insane varies case by case, with zero rules available to restrict an imagination.

If Poe were a filmmaker, I'd imagine his pictures wouldn't be unlike those of Roman Polanski, the controversial writer/director whose early career consisted of some superior sanity-disintegrated films. Previously, I'd seen and loved his Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant, both claustrophobic character studies set in apartment buildings that potentially harbored some dark subtext. For Polanski, the M.O. is all in the eye, with focus on framing of shots and the camera's ability to manipulate the audience. Take the awesome scene in Rosemary's Baby where Mia Farrow is being raped by what appears to be Lucifer himself; we're never given a clear-cut view of her assailant, just glimpses of horns and spinning shots of naked old people (all fellow tenants in the building) surrounding the bed. It's disorienting as a mutha through finely-tuned camerawork.


For some time now I've been reading how Polanski's true masterpiece is Repulsion, his first English-language flick filmed in always-effective black-and-white. The theme at play: a shy, soft-spoken, and skiddish young woman's spiraling into madness over the course of a weekend when she's all alone in her London apartment.


Sounds straightforward enough, seems like something I'd be into. Expected the best. But what I got was one of the more head-scratchingly unsettling flicks I've seen in quite some time. The main character is pretty-as-an-angel Carol (played with very-convincing frailty by French actress Catherine Deneuve), who lives in London with her older sister Helene. The siblings are at odds over Helene's jerkoff boyfriend, who constantly sleeps over and rearranges Carol's stuff in the bathroom. Having a dude in the apartment wouldn't be such a big deal for Carol if she wasn't a sexually-repressed basketcase, which she totally is. Example: after a guy kisses her forcefully, she retreats to her apartment and immediately washes her mouth out and brushes her teeth. Her discomfort with male intimacy is a disorder that seems to have always been an issue, but, at the point where Repulsion picks her life up, is reaching its zenith. She repeatedly ignores the flirtations of a rather persistent male admirer, when not giving a listener's ear to her airhead co-worker who consistently complains about a good-for-nothing boyfriend.


Polanski never offers any real background as to why Carol is as fucked up mentally as she is, and for the most part that's a good thing. All we know is that she's at her breaking point, and once her sister and the hanger-on/boyfriend leave for a weeklong getaway, Carol begins hallucinating some pretty wild shit. The walls of her apartment begin tearing open and cracking; footsteps echo from the hallway, despite nobody being out in the corridor; and while in bed she keeps envisioning creepy men assaulting and raping her.

The most disturbing and effective sequence only lasts a whopping five seconds, but is truly the material of night-terrors: the lights are off in her apartment, and Carol has just murdered somebody (slicing and dicing with a razor) who was a bit too aggressive with her. She slowly walks around the apartment, leery of something but unsure what exactly. Turning the corner and entering a long hallway, an onslaught of male arms and hands break through the walls, grabbing at her in some sick "cop a feel" motivation. Brings to mind the opening shot of George Romero's made-about-20-years-later Day of the Dead, only its ten times creepier here in Repulsion.

The bulk of Repulsion takes place strictly within the confines of Carol's apartment, which gives the flick a strong sense of isolated heeby-jeebies. At times, it felt like a Twilight Zone episode, one directed with extra doses of arthouse experimentation, and stripped of a morally-conscious twist ending. Polanski final shot here is still bouncing around in my thoughts, probably because I've always been a bit spooked by those old-school portrait photos (think the dead-body shots seen in Nicole Kidman's The Others). Dated, decades-marinated snapshots work wonders on my nerves, and the one Polanski uses to close Repulsion is particularly unnerving. The way the young Carol's eyes pierce through the photo, giving her an otherworldly quality, is tough. And the implications of childhood abuse seen in the photo provide about as much explanation as Polanski is willing to surrender. At least the man was generous enough to give us that much; he could've gone the future-David-Lynch-route and left everything under the sun ambiguous and frustratingly perplexing.


Repulsion is a slow crawl, a patient creepshow that could send today's "give me blood, guts, and action" crowds head-first into their pillows, Snooze button ignored. But for those, such as myself, who enjoy films that take their time to establish mood and character development before sledge-hammering the scares home, Polanski's classic is a definite recommendation. I wasn't "scared," per say, but I was certainly thrown for some disposition-targeted loops, and I was never disinterested.

Could just go back to my partiality to watching people lose their mind's marbles. I'm a pretty level-headed guy (or at least I consider myself to be so), so maybe the reasoning for such a preference can be chalked up to "enjoying something that's the opposite of my own normalcy." Who knows....I'm willing to investigate, at some point. Perhaps my epiphany will come when I one day sit down to scribe a "crazy person" story of my own.

Just remember: We all go a little mad sometimes. Right, Norman?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Netflix Fix -- Hardcore (2004)


To turn a borderline-exploitation story about a pair of lesbian prostitutes who turn the tables on their scumbag pimp/employer by unloading a firearm into his skull, as well as the skulls of two of his other tramps, into a heartbreaking, genuinely-touching exercise in "hearts broken" is downright impressive. Conquers the impossible, even. But that's exactly what Greek filmmaker Dennis Iliadis has done with this strange, fascinating, and totally absorbing debut, Hardcore. Adapted from a novel, Hardcore is the writing/directing introduction of Iliadis, a Greek dude blessed with a truly unique sense of both storytelling and visual panache.

What he's served up here is a poignant love story surrounded by some of the seediest characters around, and dipped in pools of sexual depravity and sporadic bloodshed. Told from the perspective of 17-year-old "veteran" prostitute Martha, Hardcore morphs its Athens, Greece, brothel setting into the darkest soap opera you'll ever see. It's hard to pin down the overall tone, but that's one of the things that makes the flick so intriguing. Martha is the resident "lost soul" of the brothel, unhappy with her job of sexual-favors-for-money, and worried that she'll never leave her fucked-up life behind and settle down with a "happy" family. She's also jealous of new girl Nadia, a 16-year-old spitfire of confidence and skill who is the brothel's fresh-faced MVP. Through a gradual chain of events, Martha and Nadia grow closer and closer, utltimately falling in love---despite each having a fellow-prostitute-boyfriend of her own. And indulging in generous amounts of cocaine and spontaneous bumpis-and-grinds. As the pay-for-play jobs increase in volume and extremities, the gals grow angry and ready to bring hell down on their pimp/employer for his shady money-pinching methods. A gun is introduced, trusts are snapped, once-passionate loves go sour like month-old chocolate milk, and tragedy says "What's (not) good?" to an unlucky few.


Iliadis loads this bitch with style upon style. It's a feast for the eyes on several levels. For starters, the two lead actresses---Katerina Tsavalou (Martha) and Danai Skiadi(Nadia)---are stunning to look at, and the fact that both deliver great performances gives Hardcore a firm backbone for all other elements to support easily. Tsavalou is especially memorable; strikingly beautiful, her natural looks mesh like crackerjack prizes with the forceful sense of vulnerability she gives "Martha." As her heart crumbles and she becomes detached from faster-living Nadia, you can acutely feel her pain. The degrees of heartache felt while watching Hardcore totally bitch-slaps those of any chick flick you could name off the top of the dome. For that matter, I'd even go as far as to say that Hardcore is indeed a "chick flick" that women should definitely see, though I'm sure the extreme sexual nature and altogether off-kilter filmmaking approach could send them running to The Hills instead. If so, consider yourself the lamest of the lame, and a lady I'd love to smack some sense into if that sort of "man's hand upon woman's cheek" weren't frowned upon. A gentleman never breaches a g-man's contract of conduct.

As ass-backwards as it sounds, I completely owe my enjoyment of Hardcore to Hollywood's otherwise despicable penchant for horror remakes. A trend that I'd much sooner piss on and then flush down a crapper than salute. However, being that Iliadis is the man behind March's impending Last House on the Left remake, I'll make an exception this time. Iliadis' Last House... looks seriously strong, based off the all-too-revealing trailer that's floating around now. My interest in it is the sole reason I'd ever heard of Hardcore in the first place, though, after reading interviews where original Last House... mastermind Wes Craven hailed Iliadis as a camera-pointing wizard based off Hardcore. And having just watched it, I clearly see where Craven is coming from. Hardcore is one of those face-smacking debuts that immediately, from the first five minutes, makes you think, "Okay, this filmmaker is definitely one to keep tabs on." If all is right in the world, his Last House on the Left won't disappoint in the slightest. Gotta wait 'til March 13 for the outcome. Calendar marked, with a Sharpie.

Specific little touches went long ways in Hardcore, moments that speak volumes to the assured hands at work behind the camera. Early on, Martha compares the dating of prostitutes within the brothel to a "Beverly Hills TV show," the film then cutting to a send-up of the old 90210 opening credits "colorfully-dressed pretty faces dancing in front of an all-white background" sequence. It's played for the laughs, but in the context of the film's permeating mood of romantic bleakness, it comes off particularly sardonic. And sort of brilliant. Same goes for a scene that in ways recalls the infamous "ass to ass" climax of Requiem for a Dream. Martha and Nadia, freshly in love and considering an idea of sharing an apartment together, are sent off by their boss to hold down sexual-favor duties at a private hotel party for a bunch of older rich folks. As she's being gangbanged in front of Nadia, who is also being tag-teamed, Martha slips deeper into her woe-is-me funk, and delivers a self-deprecating inner monologue that, much to her own surprise, is actually being spoken outloud. The mood of the pricey orgy, needless to say, is killed, but the way Iliadis presents it---as something straight out of a delirious nightmare---makes for one disorienting and lasting image.

The available movie stills for Hardcore are scarce, and the pics that are up for grabs are all boring portraits of the two actresses. So, that's all I got as far as visual aids here.

We're not dealing with a perfect film here, though, by any stretch of the imagination. Just one that hits damn near all of its intended bullseyes and packs a one-of-a-kind artistic punch that you'd never get from a modern-time Hollywood project. If there's any one fault I could single out in Hardcore it'd be the film's last 20 or so minutes. Without spoiling its milk, the flick reaches a perfect climax at about the 70-minute-mark, a spot where End Credits could've rolled and everything would've been peachy-keen. But the story continues, and drags a bit while heading towards an admittedly surprising final act. If not for this unexpected act of desperation, I'd have been pretty letdown by the film's end-chunk, which seems to beat its 808s & Heartbreak-like theme over viewing heads a bit too much.

So, yeah, goes without saying at this juncture that Hardcore called me its "Bitch" and won me over, hands down. Precisely the type of movie I'd love to show some of my friends, if only they were open to doing Matt-recommended-DVD-nights once in a while, instead of the standard Matt-gets-sloppy-drunk-alongside-us-bar-hopping-extravaganzas we've made weekly rituals of.

There's gorgeous women, quirky characters, shattered romance, and brains splattered on walls. All cooked up a la carte with crispy-clean filmmaking and acting.

How about some Hardcore? If you're a rap fan worth even half your salt, you can finish the rest yourself....

"Let's have a little fun today."

It doesn't take much to stress me the fuck out, unfortunately. I'm what some may call a "perpetual overthinker," the kind of guy who sits around pondering the aftermath of events that haven't even seen their first proverbial Domino piece knock over the next. I'll be sitting around, reading a Chuck Palahniuk novel, and in mid-twisty-sentence a thought will hit me: "When the fuck will I settle in on a fully-realized plot of my own, so I can start scribing my own long-form narrative?" And from there, an ongoing armada of "what ifs" and "am I good enoughs" set sail, and my head begins throbbing the point of aspirin-rendered-obsolete.

And don't even get me started on the repercussions of overthinking matters of the budding-relationship-with-a-lady-friend sort. That's an entirely different, much larger/scarier bag of worms that should never be taken out of the bait-box and cast out into my subconscious.

Overthinking has plagued me since a young age, back to the adolescent days of "Does Diana Guevara even find me cute, let alone worthy of a date?" Or, "How can I tell my dad that I don't want to play in tonight's baseball game, that I'd much rather go to that pool party with my friends and at least pretend that I'm a normal teenager?"

Fortunately, I've conceived several defense mechanisms. Without which, I'd have probably ended up in a looney bin years ago. Sporting a movement-constricting strait-jacket, repeating "All I wanted to do was write stories, All I wanted to do was write stories, All I wanted to do was write stories, All I wan...." from waking hour to drug-induced sleeptime. Doctors would've looked in through one-sided-glass walls, scribing notes and shaking heads in defeat. We can't save this one, they'd have uttered, morosely. He's a lost cause.

Last night, one of my defense mechanisms re-established itself into my stress-battling agenda, unexpectedly. And it worked as proficiently as ever.

It's actually a method of mind-soothing that I unintentionally discovered back in my pre-teen era. Home sick from grade school one routine weekday, awaiting the homemade Nesquik strawberry milk that Anne Barone makes oh-so-amazingly, I flipped the tube away from MTV (for once) and continued the channel-search downward until the clicker was put down on my belly so I could sip on some artifically-pink cowjuice.

By some sort of divine intervention, the present channel was PBS, and the program something called The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.


Clearly taped some time during the '70s, this Joy of Painting starred a peculiar-looking one-time-hippie with a serious afro and taco meat poking out of his unbuttoned shirt. What caught my attention initially was how pleasant this Mr. Ross appeared, visibly in nirvana while holding his paintbrush and using slanguage such as "happy little tree" and "let this live right over here." I was mesmerized, captivated. Hypnotized by the man's calming tone, and all-around even nature. And as luck would have it, it was a two-hour marathon in its first quarter.

I didn't touch the remote control until 120 minutes later.

The seeds were placed under the soil. I was a Bob Ross fan. To this day, nothing has ever even come within leaps and bounds of equaling The Joy of Painting's calming power on my mind. There have been times when girls have machete-d my heart, and career-sparked headaches have pummeled my spirit like an anvil dropped from thirty stories high, but within seconds of hanging out with my boy Bob Ross those troubles evaporated, and I was in a happy place.

It's mostly the voice. Just ask Guru. The organic process of detailing a beautiful vision of Mother Nature plays a part, as well. Together, these ingredients tag-team my attention and turn my brain into spongecake.


I never knew Bob Ross, but that doesn't mean I can't feel connected to the guy. Over the years, he's become a quasi-psychiatrist, a PBS-certified healer who operates through a television screen, rather than an office with a long, comfy couch. Instead of listening to my problems and offering solutions, Dr. Ross simply does what he does best: paints the best landscapes and scenic wonders an easel has ever produced. While talking prospective painters at home through the step-by-steps in his soft-spoken, all-will-be-well-my-friends vocal tone that could make a rabies-infected zombie halt (un)dead in his/her tracks to experience The Joy of Painting.

2009 is already shaping up to be a massively-trying year on my brain, for a slew of reasons left undisclosed for the time being. But thank the luckiest of stars that I happened across a Bobby Ross rerun last night while waiting for a night of drunken debauchery to commence. I'm on the verge of buying some of Bobby Ross' greatest hits on DVD, just to have instant access to his unique brand of psychiatry whenever its needed.

Up to this point, his services have been free of charge. What a scholar and a gentleman he is/was, huh? So dropping a cool $20 on some Joy of Painting episodes in DVD packaging would be funds well invested.

Thanks, Bobby. 13 years after your demise, you're still the man.