Monday, November 24, 2008

Sarah Palin, turkey killer.

God bless Sarah Palin. As you might know, I had been having a hard time accepting the fact that she was no longer going to be in the public eye to the extent to which I had become accustomed, but this damn lady just will not go away, and is now making TV appearances that are approaching David Lynch levels of surreal weirdness. And I am loving every minute of it (except those minutes that involve violent, graphic, animal death.)

If you haven't seen this already, Palin appeared at a turkey farm in Alaska to perform the annual ritual of pardoning a turkey before thanksgiving, saving it from the merciless slaughter that unfortunately befalls the vast majority of its brethren around this time of year. Then once the pardoning ceremony had been completed, she proceeded to give a television interview while behind her, someone continued to slaughter turkeys in full view of the camera. If you can stomach it, then check it out:


-The turkey killer in the background who seems aware of the fact that he should not be doing what he is doing, and seems to be waiting for someone to tell him to stop. When no one does, he decides the best course of action is to continue massacring the turkeys while the one of the most famous women on the planet blathers on ten feet away from him without a care in the world.

-When Palin jokingly says that she "certainly will probably invite criticism for even doing this too, but at least this was fun," as a turkey in the background struggles against the guy cutting its fucking head off.

I mean, at this point, this has to be on purpose right? This is clearly some Machiavellian plot to remain in the public consciousness until she makes her White House run in 2012 right? She can't actually be this dumb, can she?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am a grown man and I listen to:

David Archuleta.

American Idol's absolute dominance in the world of television ratings has always perplexed and frustrated me. How is it that fantastic shows like Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development, or Firefly are cruelly cancelled after a few measly episodes, and other shows like Battlestar Galactica or 30 Rock consistently stuggle to find an audience, while a glorified karaoke competition becomes a pop culture institution, effortlessly attracts millions of viewers for every episode and easily crushes all of its competition? My frustration at its massive popularity notwithstanding, I can no longer deny that the American Idol competition has turned out some pretty fantastic singers, a few of whom have become bigtime guilty pleasures of mine. I could write an entire novel about my enjoyment of Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, or Jordin Sparks, and the shame and embrassment that this causes me, but the most humiliating Idol star that I find myself consistently enjoying is season 7 runner up and tween-pop sensation David Archuleta.

David is one of thost artists that I really don't want to enjoy - I don't want strangers to hear his souful pop tunes blasting out of my headphones on the subway, and I would really rather not have to take to this blog to write about the reasons that I genuinely enjoy his music, but if I were to say that Crush is not an absolutely amazing song, or that I did not download David's self-titled solo album, then I would be a dirty, stinking liar, because it is, and I did.

Now, while I can't embed his video here for copyright reasons, I can embed the following video that I found on Best Week Ever, and perhaps even regain a tiny bit of my self-respect (although this is still unlikely.) For even though I can openly admit to enjoying the music of David Archuleta, the sadness of these little girls is like a ray of sunshine beaming onto my cruel, black heart:

Their misery sustains me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

i wanna be with you everywhere.

Discussion of the best Fleetwood Mac album pretty much starts and ends with their 1977 masterpiece Rumours, and with good cause - it's a pretty fucking great album. But 1987's Tango in the Night is also really really good. Although this was the last album they recorded with their most well-known lineup, they were still were one of the few bands who came of age in the 70s that managed to survive and even thrive during the following decade, and it's interesting to hear how they incorporated certain sonic elements of the period into their sound. Tell Me Lies is probably the most well known song off the record, but my favourite is definitely Christine McVie's Everywhere.

Not only is Everywhere a great song, but one of my favourite pastimes is creating alternate, dirty lyrics to popular songs, and this is a great one for that. The best is probably "I wanna pee on you everywhere," but I would also accept "I wanna pee in my underwear," or "I wanna urinate in your hair."

Also, what in God's name is going on in this video?? Who approved this? Only in the 80's would someone think that this video was a good idea. I blame cocaine.

Monday, November 17, 2008

the British are weird.

There is this strange phenomenon here in England where lots of classic films get remade for the stage. For instance, there is an adaptation of Rain Man starring Josh Hartnett. There is an Edward Scissorhands musical. A stage version of Wizard of Oz. And that's all well and good, but after a certain point it starts to get a little bizarre:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

pop quiz, hotshot.

What do you do when you are awake at 4:30 in the morning, trying to acclimate yourself to a foreign timezone, and the person you are sharing a hotel room starts blasting Phil Collins' 80s hit Sussudio? So, what do you do? What do you do??

The answer is nothing, because Sussudio is fucking amazing. Even if it does bring back disturbing memories of Christian Bale's threesome scene from American Psycho.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

jetlagged thoughts on 30 Rock.

So today I arrived back in the UK, where I will be spending the next several weeks on band business. The flight was pretty good - special thanks to the cool flight attendant who kept giving me bottles of wine, even as we were being served our breakfast danish and yogurt. I never knew his name, but damnit, I will never forget that man. Besides getting inappropriately drunk, I also spent a good chunk of the 6 hours it took to get here catching up on the new season of 30 Rock, and in an effort to remain relevant as a blogger despite the fact that I'm going to be pretty busy over the next little while with my real job, I thought I would weigh in with my thoughts on that.

I've mentioned before that 30 Rock is easily one of the best shows on television, and up until now, has gone largely unnoticed by the large audiences that it needs to attract in order to remain on the air. However, the show has been racking up Emmy awards, and over the summer Tina Fey became a bit of a culural sensation with her Sarah Palin impression on the resurgent SNL, so it seems like 3o Rock is poised to finally attract the huge audience numbers that it deserves. Yet its clear that this is something that is weighing heavily on Fey and the rest of the writers on the show, as it seems to me that the first few episodes have been designed to introduce the show's characters and unique brand of humour to new viewers. While I understand the need to do this, this is just a bit frustrating to people like me who have been watching and loving the show from the very beginning. This is not to say that the first few episodes haven't been solid, I just sometimes wish the show could return to the simplicity that made it so great in the first season (which if you haven't seen it, is an utter comedic masterpiece. I recently rewatched it and was consistently shocked at how often I was reduced to fits teary-eyed hysterics.) For instance, I definitely enjoyed Oprah's cameo as herself in episode 2, and Jennifer Aniston's turn as a crazy, hat designing, sexual deviant in episode 3 was also pretty great, but I feel like over the last 2 seasons the show has relied way too much on stunt casting in order to drive in ratings, while some of the weekly characters, specifically Scott Adsit's depressed producer Pete, or Lonny Ross's hilarious Josh Girard, are being criminally underused.

Anyways, I'm not claiming that 30 Rock has jumped the shark or anything, I just wish that more people watched the show so it didn't have to try so hard to get people to watch it. That being said, a flawed 30 Rock is still better than 98% of what is on television these days, and despite my trepidation, I am still really excited to see what the rest of this season has in store. So if you don't watch it already, I give this show my highest possible recommendation, please start watching it so it doesn't get cancelled and replaced with a show starring Jim Belushi whose main theme is that men = stupid. We already know that, Jim. Let's move on.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

i'm down for whatever.

Well, since I've finally passed the century mark in number of posts, I figure I should finally post the song that inspired the name of this blog. The Get Up Kids are not my favourite band, but I do positively associate their music with a particular point in my adolescence which is comforting in many ways, and they did play a part in inspiring me to start playing in bands myself, which has worked out pretty well for me thus far. So here's Action and Action by The Get Up Kids:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

diet Dr Palin.

I have a bit of a confession to make. Although I am incredibly relieved over the results of the US presidential election, I am a little bit sad that the days of Sarah Palin being one of the most visible public figures in the known universe have, at least for now, come to an end. As even though I strongly disagree with the majority of her political beliefs, and think she was ridiculously unqualified to potentially become the second-in-command of America - I am incredibly attracted to her. I tuned into the Vice Presidential debates wanting to see her get demolished by Joe Biden and finally reveal herself to the American public as a know-nothing, inexperienced, living political ploy. Instead I was enraptured by her folksy colloquialisms and every day American charm. I felt like every one of her cheeky winks was directed only at me. Luckily, like Indiana Jones snapping out of his murderous trance after being force fed the blood of Kali by the evil Thugee cult in Temple of Doom, I was able shake off the hypnosis resulting from Palin's idiotic siren song before I moved to Arkansas and became a registered Republican. I was worried for a few weeks that the majority of American voters were going to fall under her spell, and that we were only a few years out from the phrase "don't 'cha know" being used for the first time ever in a Presidential state of the union address, but fortunately I was proved wrong and Palin has since gone back to being the governor of a state that no one really cares about.

But I'm seriously digressing here. My original point was that despite our differing political views, I still have a schoolboy crush on Palin. So I was delighted when after being confronted about the alleged fact that she spent over $100, 000 of RNC money at high end clothing stores purchasing new wardrobes for her and her family before she was unveiled to the public, she responded by insisting that she "never asked for anything more than a diet Dr Pepper once in a while." Whoa, wait a second. Sarah Palin drinks diet Dr Pepper, the most delicious soft drink ever invented? Be still my heart! Even if Palin would make a terrible Vice President (or regular President for that matter,) at least we can all come together in a bipartisan way in appreciation of diet Dr Pepper's cool, refreshing taste and total lack of calories (though its probably worth pointing out that since Palin gave birth only 7 months ago she really has no business enjoying delicious chemical-filled diet soda of any kind.)

Anways, Palin's unquestionably terrible parenting skills aside, I think I know the perfect way that she can remain in the public eye before her inevitable return to the spotlight in four years:

Next up in terms of beautiful conservatives who I don't agree with but would still love to take to the movies: Meghan McCain.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am a grown man and I listen to:


I can definitely be pretty hard on Madonna sometimes. I've gone over all this before so I'm not going to start ranting about what bugs me about her. All I will say is that in the 1980s, the way she manipulated the media to her advantage and used her blatant sexuality to shock and sometimes outrage the public, helped make her, deservedly, the biggest female pop star of her generation. Today, when she tries to accomplish the same thing with vague, or sometimes completely ignorant political statements, it just comes across as tired and desperate.

That being said though, I can openly admit that Madonna is one of my all time favourite artists. This used to be mostly because of how good her old material is, in particular the one-two punch of Holiday and Lucky Star that opens up her Immaculate Collection are two of the best pop songs of all time. I also dig Ray of Light and Music, but recently I have started listening to 2007's Confessions on a Dance Floor almost nonstop. When it first came out I dismissed it as a Euro-trash guilty pleasure, but the more I listen to it the more I am completely mesmerized by the sublime Stuart Price production, and at this point, to me anyways, this record has been elevated to genius status. I absolutely love it. Of course, Hung Up and Sorry were the massive singles off this record, but the song I have been most obssessed with is Get Together, which was still a number 1 dance hit in the US, and rightfuly so: the moment when the beat drops in at the 3 minute mark is one of my favourite parts in any song ever, and I'm not even kidding.

So once again, Madonna bugs me but I also love her. Its weird, but really, isn't that what love is?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

yes we did.

historic day.

It's funny, just walking around today there is an electricity in the air - today is a historic day and everyone knows it. I have experienced very few days like this in my life, and that feeling is unmistakeable when you and everyone you know are, for better or worse, experiencing a powerful shared experience that you will remember for the rest of your lives. Yes, it's true. Today is my 100th POST ANNIVERSARY SPECTACULAR!!!

I'm just grateful for having been along for the ride. I'd like to thank everyone who drops by occasionally to read this blog, I appreciate each and every one of you for allowing me to continue on with this little project - probably the first time in my life I have been able to write consistently about anything without giving up after a week. My computer setback is behind me now so hopefully I will be able to be as prolific as ever in the coming months. So thank you very much once again and I'm proud to know that you will forever remember where you were and what you were doing on this special, special day.

Oh, and also, the leader of the free world gets elected today so, there's also that. If you are an American I hope you voted.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

papa don't preach.

The first time I ever heard of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's epic masterpiece Preacher, I was perusing through Millenium Library, my favourite Montreal comic shop, when the clerk suggested that I pick it up. I was, and still am, pretty new to the comic book / graphic novel scene and I needed to be convinced, so I asked him what it was about. Without hesitation he responded by saying, "its about three of the coolest characters you could possibly imagine, driving through Texas and kicking ass in such a way that it makes you want to hang out with them forever." I was sold. It was one of the best endorsements I have ever gotten for anything, ever, and Preacher did not disappoint for a second. It was smart, funny, thought-provoking, extremely violent, and I never wanted the insanely epic trials and tribulations of the Reverend Jesse Custer to end.

So given my intense love of the series, I had been more than a little concerned about the long-in-development HBO adaptation of Preacher. On the one hand, HBO could give the series the time it needed to properly develop the characters and storylines, and could get away with all the vulgar language and graphic violence that the comic is known for. However, it was also being developed by Mark Steven Johnson, who wrote and directed Daredevil and Ghost Rider and was probably most well-known as the writer of the classic 90's old guy buddy comedy, Grumpy Old Men. Not exactly the ideal candidate to bring to life one of the most controversial and celebrated comic books ever created. And mark my words, when this project does finally comes to life, it will definitely be controversial. While in my opinion Preacher raises some very important and poignant issues about the notion of religion and its place in society, I imagine some of the more devout Christians in the United States and elsewhere would probably object to, amongst other things, the depiction of a direct descendent of Jesus Christ as a poo-flinging, jibberish-spouting inbred moron. And since it seems like devout Christians, for some reason, get to decide what is and isn't acceptable viewing material for most regular folks, this is definitely going to become a problem for whatever brave company ultimately ends up attempting to bring this darkly comic tale to the big (or small) screen.

The reason I bring all this up is because HBO recently killed its Preacher project, which I thought was pretty much the end of any prospect of seeing Jesse Custer, his wild-hearted girlfriend Tulip, and their hard-drinking Irish vampire pal Cassidy in action anywhere other than the pages where they were created. And maybe its best that it never is adapted. After all, in its current 9 volume state, Preacher is pretty much as perfect a piece of pop culture as you are ever likely to find - there's no way it can be improved upon, so by that logic its just going to get worse if it is reproduced in any other form. The only way I could be convinced and would get excited about a Preacher adaptation would be if the right people were involved...which is why I was pleasantly surprised when the rights were quickly acquired by Columbia Pictures with Sam Mendes attached to direct.

Mendes, director of American Beauty, who I mentioned a few weeks ago in connection to his upcoming Revolutionary Road, is a talented director that I really admire, and I am perfectly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as the creative force behind this project. He's definitely never made anything close to this genre-wise, nor has he attempted anything so epic in scope (he's definitely going to need at least three movies in order to tell this story correctly,) but he is unquestionably an immense talent and has a particularly good eye for casting, which is going to make or break this project. Jon Favreau's Iron Man and Christopher Nolan's the Dark Knight were two recent comic book adaptations whose brilliant casting elevated the source material to new heights, and Zack Snyder's Watchmen (another seemingly unadaptable graphic novel that is improbably on its way to theatres,) appears to have succeeded on that front as well, so if Preacher is going to work it is going to have to be perfectly cast.

But who should make up that cast? Here's my Preacher film adaptation cast wishlist:

Rev. Jesse Custer
In many ways this is the toughest casting decision, as this needs to be dead on, and its not going to be easy to find an actor that can effectively portray this extremely bad ass, supernatural power-wielding Southern preacher with the proper mix of humour, charm, and emotional gravity. I think the obvious choice here would be Johnny Depp, as he looks just like the character and has that quirky sensibility that could really work for a project as bizarre as this one. You could definitely argue that Depp is too old to get the part, but then again, I don't think Johnny Depp ages at the same rate as regular humans (he calls us normies.) If you absolutely had to go with someone younger, there are very few actors that spring to mind with the chops to make the character their own, and also be able to handle the physicality and the numerous action set pieces that this is going to require. Joaquin Phoenix? Ryan Gosling maybe? Heath Ledger would have been a fantastic choice so there's another reason why its sad that he's not around anymore. Tough call. I would be happy to see either Depp or Phoenix get the role, but Depp apparently just got paid about 9 billion dollars to star in the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and Phoenix I guess has retired from acting to focus on "his music." What a wanker. I guess Gosling gets it by default but as much as I like him as an actor I'm not convinced he could pull it off. I will probably think of someone perfect for this as soon as this post is published, then in an Orwellian fashion I will erase what I'm writing right now and claim that was what I thought all along. So I guess I'll just move along then.

When you read a character description that says, "drunken Irish vampire," one name should immediately spring to mind: Colin Farrell. He could definitely do it, but I think the more interesting choice here would be the fantastic Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz.) He's definitely got the high geek factor and I get the sense that he would appreciate the gravity of the project, and although he's never played anything like this before I have a feeling he could knock this role out of the park. Every character in Preacher is ridiculously nuanced and layered, and Cassidy is maybe the epitome of this, but Pegg proved that he had mad range in the genre-bending Shaun and I know he could do it. As a sidenote I'm really excited to see what he brings the role of Scotty in JJ Abrams upcoming Star Trek. That was a pretty inspired casting choice to add to what was already a really interesting group of actors, and I can't wait to see how that plays out. Then again, Simon Pegg could be cast to portray a sympathetic, lonely, misunderstood Paul Bernardo and I would still watch it.

Tulip O'Hare
Ideally, for this role you would be able to go back in time and use circa-1995 Patricia Arquette, as Tulip is similar in many ways to Patricia's character of Alabama in the brilliant True Romance. In any case, since time travel hasn't been invented...yet...I am going to go ahead and call this one for Battlestar Galactica's Katie Sackhoff. Her great portrayal of Starbuck has showed us more than the requisite amount of spunky heroine-ness that would be required to bring this character to life accurately, plus she is blonde and is quite easy on the eyes. She also has the unparalelled geek factor working in her favour. This one is a no contest.

Herr Starr
It is going to be almost impossible to find an actor who not only has the range to play this character, but is also willing to humiliate themselves and have some fun with the role, as Herr Starr suffers pretty much every physical degradation you can possibly imagine in his never-ending quest to screw over Jesse Custer. At times this actor is going to have to portray a cold, calculating super soldier in some insane action sequences, and then, often in the same scene, switch to the broadest possible physical comedy. Nevertheless, he's an amazing character, and although there a few actors that could conceivably take it on, (Ed Harris or previous Mendes-collaborator Kevin Spacey for instance,) I would love to see Patrick Stewart in this role. Not only does he already look exactly like Starr, but it would just be amazing to hear an enraged Captain Picard utter classic lines like: "you turned me into a homosexual, you unbelievable prick!" while choking out a stunned and incompetent lackey. We also know from his hilarious appearance on Extras that he is able to poke fun at his image, so I think this would be brilliant casting.

Saint of Killers
Ideally you would want Clint Eastwood for this, but since he's too busy winning academy awards these days its pretty unlikely you would see him take this part. In a pinch you could also go with Kill Bill's David Carradine, but you know what, I'm going to go with the sleeper casting choice and pick Javier Bardem for this one. He played a savage, unstoppable killer pretty convincingly in No Country for Old Men and I think he would be great for this.

The role of Arseface would be played by this guy. Why? Because fuck him, that's why.

But seriously, Jack Black would play Arseface.

No matter who ends up getting cast in this thing, I will very likely be there opening weekend to see Sam Mendes' Preacher adaptation. Hopefully it will live up to my already ridiculously high expectations. And if you are still reading this and you have never read Preacher, please buy it immediately and check it out, I can almost guarantee that you will love it. Unless you are a devout Christian, you object to graphic violence, or it makes you uncomfortable to hear people say things like, "Ah Demi - I do hope I will have the pleasure of urinating on your cleavage later?" If that's the case than you should probably try and avoid Preacher at all costs.