Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dr. Zaivon

I love Warren Zevon and think he's a musical genius, but he looks just like Dr. Zaius.


(That is to say, he did... before he died. Before Zevon died, that is. Dr. Zaius hasn't been born yet.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

iPod Touch 4G Review

I bought a new iPod Touch about a week ago. I didn't necessarily want a new iPod Touch, but after my old one died, I was left with little choice. Just to be clear, every iPod I've ever owned has died after about three years or so, which maybe is a good lifespan for an MP3 player, but it's certainly a bad track record for Apple products. I bet I could find an original Sony Walkman on ebay and it would work perfectly. Every time one of my iPods die (and this will be my fourth), I tell myself I'm never going to get another one. Obviously, I got another one. Apple always lures me back, not only because over the years I've purchased so many songs and videos over the iTunes Music Store that can only be played on an iPod (unless you got to an insane amount of trouble to rig a work around), but also because their products are just so damn sexy, and as long as they last, they're a hell of a lot of fun to own.

I honestly thought about getting a regular iPod instead of a new Touch (to replace the first generation model I previously owned), but the new features won me over. It has a build in speaker, microphone, faster processor, better graphics, (almost) high def display, and even a video camera that takes HD videos at 720p. And, of course, it also does all the old stuff that the original Touch used to do, like connect to wi-fi and play music and videos. Of course, nobody needs an HD video camera in their music player, but it's pretty nice feature to have, all things considered.

I bought the 8GB version, since I'm fairly poor and even that was a bit hefty in price (but I got a 10% rebate by trading in my old iPod Touch. Nice). The 4G Touch also comes in 32GB and 64GB. If I had it all to do over again (and if I had had a little more money), I'd maybe consider the 32GB version, since these aps, songs, and videos really add up faster than you think. Also, even before loading anything on to my just-taken-out-of-the-box iPod, it actually only had about 6GB of free memory for my stuff, after the operating system and preloaded apps are accounted for. I understand that this stuff is going to take up some space, but using about a quarter of the entire hard drive is really excessive in my opinion. That's about 1200 songs I can't fit onto my iPod because Apple wanted to stick on a bunch of apps like Youtube and Voicerecorder that I'll never use and I can't delete.

Taken on my Touch
The 4G Touch feels about the same weight and dimensions as my old Touch, but I still had to buy a new case because of the added front and back cameras. It's just as thin and lightweight and easy to use as any iPod. The highly touted "Retina Display," looks nice, but it's still just an Apple buzzword to mean "nice screen." If I had the 4G and the original Touches side by side, maybe I'd notice a difference in the displays, but as it is now it doesn't seem to be all that much crisper or more defined. That isn't to say it isn't lovely, however, just that the screen on the original Touch was already fantastic. The only times I've really appreciated the "retina display" is when I'm reading text on a website. I can now read most pages without having to zoom in. But movies and graphics and photos looks about the same to my eyes.

The 46 Touch comes with two cameras, a low res one on the front and an HD one on the back, both of which also take still photos. The low res camera above the screen is mostly used for video chatting, but I haven't managed to get the Facetime ap to work yet. If any of my loyal readers have that ap installed, drop me and email and we'll hook up! The real camera is on the back, and the quality is absolutely fantastic. I mean, you're not going to be able to director Avatar Part II: Electric Bugaloo, but your home movies are going to look great. When Apple says HD, they mean HD. The videos are all recorded at a native resolution of 720p and they look fantastic. They look best in highly lit environments (namely, outside in direct sunlight), but even in low light levels the videos look pretty darn good.

The videos are also going to be shaky as hell, since the Touch makes for an awkwardly shaped camera that is hard to hold, and there is no image stabilizing feature so far. The side of the Touch is rounded, making it impossible to set it down in order to film things on a level surface. I'm sure you can buy some kind of stand, but it's probably 30 bucks. Also, taking photos is awkward as well, since you have to hit the shutter button on a very small, specific part of the touch screen. Holding the camera up to take your own picture is all but impossible since you can't see the button unless you are looking right at the screen. Apple could really solve this problem by having the volume buttons on the side of the Touch act as the shutter when you're in camera mode. Why has nobody thought of that yet? Get on that, Steve Jobs. You aren't going to take many photographs with this thing anyway, however, since the camera pretty much sucks. I'm not sure what the megapixel rate is, but the photos are only slightly better than what you'd get from a normal cell phone.

Taken on my Touch
Charging your iPod and syncing it is just as simple as plugging the cable into your computer. One thing that has always annoyed me about the iPod is how you have to charge it by plugging into a computer instead of the wall. Sure, you can buy a power adapter to work around this, but it's about 20 bucks or so. Why would I buy 20 bucks for something that should come packed in the box? Also, another nitpick is how both my computer and my iPod have Bluetooth capabilities, but I still have to plug them both together in order to sync my stuff. Even my cell phone lets me port music and applications via Bluetooth. Why do I still have to plug my iPod in? Not a dealbreaker by any means, but it is annoying and kind of weird.

But I like it. No wait, I love it. It's not perfect and there are lots of annoying little things that I would change, but it's still the best, most versatile, and fun MP3 player money can buy. I've had a Touch for maybe three years (whenever the original model came out), and with the exception of the month or so when my old model was broken, not a day has gone by that I haven't used my Touch for... something, be it checking my email, calculating a tip in a restaurant, watching a movie on a plane, reading a blog on the toilet (sorry), or playing a game on my couch. It's just incredibly useful and a lot of fun. But it.

Oh, and I didn't really mention this above, but it also plays music!

In Memoriam: Irvin Kershner (1923-2010)

Oh no again!

Filmmaker Irvin Kershner died today at the age of 87. Over the course of his career, he directed at least one great movie and a few pretty entertaining ones. The great one, of course, is the second Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back, which is on my list of the top ten best films ever made of all time ever. For that film alone he earned himself a spot on the Geeks Hall of Fame. But he also made his mark on the James Bond series by directing the much maligned but actually not that bad Never Say Never Again, that brought Sean Connery back to the role after about twenty years or so. He also directed the much maligned but still better than part 3 Robocop 2.

Go honor his memory by listening to his fantastic audio commentary on the Empire Strikes Back DVD. He was a smart guy and a fantastic director who deserved a better career.

Video Clip of the Week: Police Squad

In honor of Leslie Nielsen, here is a great clip from the short lived, but brilliant, TV series Police Squad:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In Memoriam: Leslie Nielsen (1926-2010)

Oh no!

Leslie Nielsen, star of stage and screen, has died today at the age of 84. I can think of few actors more universally beloved than Leslie Nielsen. And for good reason, since he was incredibly talented, absolutely hilarious, and effortlessly charming. He was the kind of actor who was funny even in movies that were otherwise unwatchable, and even when he wasn't, we still forgave him because we loved him so much.

Go honor his memory by renting Airplane, Naked Gun, or Dracula: Dead and Loving It. All funny. He will be missed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmarathon: Coming Soon

I was inspired by my friend Anna who attempted to review a different horror movie during each day of October. I don't care much for Halloween (although I do enjoy horror movies if they are good), Thanksgiving movies aren't much of a genre, so that leaves Christmas, the best holiday of all! For the entire month of December, I'm going to review a different Christmas movie. Why? Why not? That's all that's going to be on anyway, so I may as well get some blog content out of them. Also, it'll be a good writing exercise that might give me a little more discipline at my desk. Also... I love Christmas movies!

Any suggestions or recommendations are welcome. I'm going to try to watch as many new Christmas films as possible (that is to day, Christmas films I haven't already seen), but I'll mix in a few classics here and there too.

So... we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wild Blue Yonder

I'm posting this in a plane, midflight, at however many thousands of feet in the air. Just because I can.

Happy holiday, everybody!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Robert Vaughn!

Robert Vaughn, who has been mentioned in this blog more than a few times recently, turns 78 today.

Robert Vaughn is a vastly underrated actor who is probably best known as Napoleon Solo in the Man From U.N.C.L.E. and as villain Ross Webster in Superman III. Vaughn has won an Emmy, and been nominated for several Golden Globes and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the Young Philadelphians. He also appeared in those commercials for lawyer Mark E. Salomone. Anybody else remember those?

Go honor the man's life and career by renting Pootie Tang. You'll be glad you did.

Video Clip of the Week: Lord Flashheart

I can say without any fear of exaggeration, that this is my favorite scene in television history. I've been watching this scene off and on for the past fifteen years or so, and it never stops making me laugh.

The performance by Rik Mayall is just the funniest thing I've ever seen. American Audiences may know Mayall better as the titular character from the film Drop Dead Fred, but for me he'll always be Lord Flashheart from Blackadder.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This wasn't very funny.

It certainly wasn't unfunny, and if you loved Borat and laughed out loud at the trailer for this one, you'll certainly find it entertaining. But I just didn't find it all that funny. In fact, I didn't even finish it, turning it off about an hour in because I just got bored and could think of a handful of better ways to spend my time (like doing my dishes or going for a walk). But it was ok. I laughed out loud a few times, but not enough to keep me watching.

I loved Borat and laughed uproariously when I saw it in the theater. Maybe this film wasn't as funny, or maybe I've just matured a little bit since Sasha Baren Cohen's previous film. I dunno. I just know that this film seemed more mean spirited and misguided than it should've been. Borat was as black a comedy as you could ever find, but it mostly poked fun at racism and ignorance. Bruno just makes fun of the fashion industry and the cult of celebrity. Personally, I don't have anything against the fashion industry, so I didn't care nor did I find most of the more pointed jokes to be very funny. There was one interview, for example, where Cohen (as Bruno) baited a model into saying that her job was very hard. That was the whole point of the scene, and I suppose we were supposed to laugh at this egotistical model for having the audacity to admit that her job was hard. Why is that funny? No, she doesn't clean up road kill off the side of the road, but I still imagine she puts in a hard days work. Anyway, it seemed unfair because I would imagine being a model isn't much easier than being the star of a movie like Bruno. But that was my main problem with this film: It featured an actor in a major Hollywood movie attacking other actors who work in Hollywood movies.

But much of it was funny, but only when he was being silly. Like the extended gay sex scene where Bruno and his pygmy lover performed some of the most ridiculous sex acts ever put on film. I also really liked the seen where Bruno showed up at a fashion show dressed in a suit made completely of velco, but he just ended up sticking to all of the walls and everybody in the building. That was funny. But then going on and destroying a fashion show that a lot of people probably worked very hard to put on wasn't funny.

I dunno. I like to laugh, and I find it hard to laugh when I know that real people are the butt of the jokes. In Borat, the people being ridiculed seemed to enjoy it. In Bruno, it just didn't work the same way.

Skip it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

From the Mail Bag

I received an email from Robert Davi this evening. No joke... but don't get too excited. We're not friends, nor does he probably even know who I am. I mentioned him on this blog a few months ago, mentioning how he was a favorite actor of mine, and it somehow came back to him and he sent me an email to say thanks. Classy move by a classy man. Anyway, I must've somehow gotten put on some mailing list of his or something, so I received this:

Hi.  Hope everybody has been well.  Just wanted to send out a quick email about my upcoming show: DAVI SINGS SINATRA, which will be at the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center on January 15, 2011.

Please come.  You can read details about the show here...


Take Care,
Man, I wish I lived in California so I could check that out. Robert Davi singing the the music of Frank Sinatra? That's a combination made in heaven. I haven't heard Robert Davi sing since his appearance in the Goonies. Anyway, I figured I'd share this with you all in case somebody happens to live in or near Thousand Oaks. I'm sure it'll be cool.

The Last Airbender

This is one of those movies you might be tempted to rent, figuring, "how bad could it be?" Anyway, that's what I asked myself when I rented it. I rarely agree with the critics. I liked League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I think Vin Diesel is a good actor, and I laughed my ass off at Little Man. But boy was this bad.

How bad could it be? Maybe the worst big budget Hollywood movie I've ever seen. It was just dreadful. I mean, the first hour was, which was all I watched because I had better things to do. Maybe the ending was amazing. Maybe Shayamalan's big twist was that the movie stopped being a huge piece of shit right at the end. If so, my bad. But I tend to doubt it, since it was all so bad. It seemed like the possibilities were there, since the mythology presented was kind of neat and some of the visuals and special effects were well done and quite striking, but the story sucked and the acting was awful. And as cute as that little kid was, the idea of watching him knock people over with his wind blasts (or whatever) just never looked cool.

Oh, and if you are going to have a big villain in your movie who's supposed to be scary and evil, don't get one of the corespondents from the Daily Show.

Bad movie.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rumor Mill: Man From U.N.C.L.E. Remake

Word on the street (or, at least, on some movie gossip websites) is that Steven Soderbergh is prepping a remake of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. for the big screen. Considering his success with the Ocean's 11 remake (the first one at least), he doesn't seem like a bad choice. Of course, every other film he's made has been a flop (deservedly so, in my opinion), but this could be a hit. The good news is that he intends for it to take place in the 1960s as a period piece, which is as it should be. I would have no interest in watching an updated take on U.N.C.L.E.

Rumors also state that George Clooney wants the role of Napolean Solo, which makes sense because he seems to star in every film directed by Soderbergh. Clooney wouldn't be a bad choice, but I think this was a role Kyle MacLachlan was born to play. David Hyde Pierce would be a pretty good choice to play Solo's partner Kuryakin, but he might be getting a bit old.

Make it happen, Soderbergh.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Green Lantern Trailer

The first official trailer for the upcoming Green Lantern movie was released today... and it looks neat. I'll definitely see it. I'm a long-time fan of the comic and I think this trailer looks entertaining and cool. I like that they seem to be using the full mythology of the Green Lantern corps, including glimpses of Oa, Kilowag, Abin Sur, and everything else. I'm not a huge fan of the costume, however. I don't mind that it is completely rendered in CG, I just don't like the color scheme. It really needs those white gloves to tie the whole thing together. Also, Ryan Reynolds is a funny, charming actor, but he just seems all wrong for Hal Jordan. Why do comic book movies always have to be "funny"? He'd be a great Guy Gardner, however.

Anyway... check it out here. I think it looks cool and remain cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII: First Impressions

I bought this game about a week ago, and I just started getting into it. If you had called me the first night I bought it to ask me how it was, I would've said it sucks.

But now, a week or so later, I think it's kind of the bomb. That was a pretty steep learning curve and warming over period, and it hurts the game because I can't imagine most casual gamers would make it past the first three or four hours without bailing. The first level or so of this game (if you could call it that) flat out sucks. It's just monotonous and boring, with you doing little more than following long hallways, pausing here and there to have awful battles that require nothing more than hitting the A button over and over again. But, as I said, it got better. After that first section of the game, your characters become L'cie (don't ask), giving them the ability to wield various forms of magic. Before that, you were only able to use a generic attack over and over again. Once you are able to actually perform magic and use other abilities, the battle system became amazing. This is seriously one of the best battle systems in any RPG ever. It's and furious and actually requires a lot of strategy. The battles quickly went from being a chore to being one of the most fun parts of the game.

I could see how long-time fans of the series might complain about how the new battle mode is a bit easier and more user-friendly, but that's exactly what I like about it. I actually feel as though I'm in control of my team during the battles, instead of just watching them play out in front of me while I input directions here and there. It is a little odd that your party heals after every battle, but, again, I don't mind because it cuts down on the frustration. The only real complaint I have with the battles is that there is no victory fanfare. What's that about?!

The story is deep and rich and entertaining... and also completely impossible to follow. It has something to do with a conflict between the Fal'cie and the Pulse La'cie, who convert humans into L'cie and Pulse L'cie, over control of Cocoon... or something. It is super hard to follow, moves really fast throwing so many details at you in each sequence, and everything sounds the same. Luckily, there's an in-game database that keeps you up to date on story progress and key terms, but I wish the story had been told more deftly so homework wasn't a requirement to keep up with the story. But this is a Final Fantasy game, so convoluted stories that make little sense are par for the course. Also, I'm still too early in the game to expect everything to make sense at this point.

The graphics are pretty much the best graphics I've ever seen in any game ever. I can say that with out any fear of hyperbole. It's just gorgeous, with an amazing art style and ridiculously detailed character models. Remember how amazed we all were by the video clips in Final Fantasy VII? Well, the in-game graphics in this game blow those away. Gorgeous game.

So I like it. It's probably the most fun I've had playing a Final Fantasy game since part IX on the original Playstation. Check it out if you're a fan of the series.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sons of Anarchy Season One

I rented this on Netflix and enjoyed every minute of it.

I don't know a whole lot about the culture of motorcycle gangs, so I can't speak for the accuracy or authenticity of what is shown in the series, but it was certainly entertaining as hell. Sons of Anarchy tells the story of a motorcycle club in Northern California, that runs the fictional town of Charming, selling guns, bribing police officers, and generally kicking ass and taking names. Like I said, I don't know if most motorcycle clubs are anything like this, but the Sons of Anarchy sure are figgin' badass. If anything, this show makes it clear that being in a motorcycle gang probably isn't all that fun, since they get shot at, arrested, and in trouble with rival gangs in just about every episode. It's kind of odd that anybody would even stay in the gang considering all the drama they have to endure. Don't they realize that anybody can just ride a motorcycle without all that hassle?

But, whatever. All that drama makes for a fun show. There is a lot more than just the drama and action, of course, since there are real, human stories to be told about the various members, foremost being Jax, who is almost based on Hamlet, with his entire storyarc being somewhat Shakespearean in nature. His father and uncle started the club as sort of utopia for free ideas, but when his father died and his uncle married his mother, the club became corrupt and dirty. It's a bit overwrought and pretentious in places (especially the device of Jax finding and reading the journal written by his deceased father at various points in every episode), but the writing is so rich and the acting by the ensemble cast is so engaging that it's just so much fun to watch.

I highly recommend checking out the first season, which I devoured as quickly as Netflix could send the discs, and I already have season 2 at the top of my queue. 

Video Clip of the Week: Monday Morning

This is a "video" only in the most limited sense of the term... but who cares? I'm posting it as my video clip of the week because it's Monday morning and because, no matter what day it is, this is just an awesome song. Fleetwood Mac is a great band, but I really only like their songs song by Lindsey Buckingham.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Na'Vi Sex

I didn't love Avatar when I saw it in the theater, but I still picked it up on Blu Ray the other day because it was very entertaining. Also, as Blu Rays go, I've never seen a disc that better shows off the technology. This Blu Ray looks amazing. In fact, I think it looks better on my Blu Ray player than it did in the theater, despite the fact that it's not even in 3D.

Anyway, all I really wanted to say is this: I just don't believe Jake Sully would have sex with a Na'Vi, no matter how strongly he felt toward her emotionally. I mean, she was a freaky looking blue chick with cat eyes, mouse ears, and a tail. I guess what I'm saying is that I wouldn't have sex with her, which does not in any way make me a racist against the Na'Vi. I don't think that corporation should've killed any of them or made any attempt to forcibly remove them from their home. But come on. I understand that he was in an Avatar body, but even then he wouldn't consciously think about that fact. It's not like there are any mirrors out in the wolds of Pandora. He would still think of himself as Jake Sully, human being.

I dunno. I guess I'm just saying that the film would have been better had they gotten rid of the love subplot. Wouldn't it have been that much more profound if Sully had risked his lives to save the Na'Vi because he loved their culture and wanted it to survive, and not just because he fell in love with some weird blue chick and had nasty sex with her?

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good Luck, Tanya! (Updated with Results)

All of us here at Blessed Are the Geeks want to say good luck to our sister Tanya, who is running in the ING New York City Marathon today. Good luck, Tanya!

If you are so inclined, you can track her progress (or Bobby Flay's, Al Roker's, or Jared from the Subway commercials) by typing in her name at this website. Pretty cool.

UPDATE: She finished! Her overall time was 5 hours, 34 minutes, and 47 seconds. She blew Al Roker away, whose time was 7:09:44. She was evenly matched with Subway's Jared who finished with 5:13:28. And my boy Bobby Flay managed an impressive 4:01:37.

Great job, everybody!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gears of War 2

I don't have much to say about this game other than that I beat it yesterday afternoon. It's a good sequel in that it's just like the first game, only better. It has improved graphics, more refined controls that get you stuck to walls a lot less, and gives you a longer, more epic campaign. It's not a great sequel, however, in that it really only offers minor improvements and upgrades, and doesn't really change the landscape of the genre. It's just better. If you've never played either one, I'd definitely recommend part 2 over part 1. However, if you played part 1 and aren't sure about whether to get the sequel (which came out a while ago, by the way), it's hardly a must-buy title.

It continued the story from the first game, but considering how little sense it made in either title, who really cares? The story is so muddled and poorly written that it's nearly impossible to follow or engage in on any real, emotional level. I play these games for the action, which is absolutely off the hook. Great game, great fun, highly recommended.

The ending totally sucked, however, with one of the lamest end bosses in videogame history.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Walking Dead: Pilot Episode

Well, as pilot episodes go, I thought this was absolutely phenomenal.

I'm not sure if it will make a brilliant, enduring TV series, since the premise is a bit thin and overdone by this point (a world taken over by zombies), but as a single episode of TV, it was amazing and well worth watching. It's available for free online at AMC's website, so you have no excuse not to check it out right now. If you are a fan of horror, the zombie genre, or just great writing, directing, and acting, you'll enjoy it. Anyway, I did. As I said, I thought it was just fantastic, and I don't think I can stress that enough.

I also have my doubts, of course, as I mentioned above. So far, it hasn't really shown that it will bring anything new to the zombie genre, although the writing and acting was definitely better than anything we've seen in any other zombie production, and that's saying a lot because there have been too many too count. Also, the original comic book on which this TV series is based also started strong and fizzled out, in my opinion, although many people might argue with that point. I started reading the comic because I'm a zombie junkie, but I grew bored quickly from writer Robert Kirkman's boring plots, unlikable characters, and lack of any real excitement or entertainment value. I basically got sick of paying $3.00 a month to buy single issues that only really had enough content to fill a page of any other comic. Very little happened in this comic, so I jumped ship after the issue where that woman spent an entire issue torturing and murdering the man who raped her. Twenty pages or so of a woman chopping at that guy's genitalia was enough for me.

Although it's too early to make a call like this, I'm a bit confused as to why it's even based on the Walking Dead comic anyway, since the only real similarities are that there are zombies, the main character is a former cop named Rick, and he woke up at the start from a coma (all of which Kirkman stole from Romero's zombie movies and 28 Days Later anyway). I'm guessing it was more of a marketing thing, since the comic is fairly popular and well respected within the zombie fan community. Or maybe series creator Frank Darabont was just a huge fan of the comic and plans to follow the storyline very closely. I hope I'm wrong about that, because the comic, as I said, was boring.

But then, I could see how people might find this pilot episode boring as well, since very little happened other than that Rick woke up from a coma, found the world was full of zombies, and set out on the road to find his missing family. It was mostly an hour-long set up of this world overrun by zombies, as well as a set up of the overall mood and atmosphere of the series. There were a lot of very long scenes of Rick walking through fields as he just looked around, taking everything in. As I said, I could see how somebody might be bored, but I was rapt with tension the entire time. Frank Darabont is just a wonderful director, and if you've seen The Mist or Shawshank, you'll already know the level of quality of which he's capable.

Darabont also assembles wonderful casts and gets the most out of their talents. Series lead Andrew Lincoln was unknown to me, but this performance is going to make him a star. He was incredible. The first scene of the show (well, after the intro where somebody killed a zombie) was just ten or so minutes of him talking to one of his deputies in their squad car, and it was one of the best scenes in the entire pilot. The two actors were both so good and the dialogue was so well written, I would've have minded if the entire hour was just those two talking. And every other actor was at that same level, and they all got pretty good monologues to read.

Anyway, the episode is free and at that price it's the best deal you'll find all day. I loved it and will check out the next episode this Sunday. It hasn't brought anything new to the zombie genre yet, but this pilot was the best entry in the genre since Romero completed his original dead trilogy 25 years ago. Check it out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Toy Story 3

This movie was brilliant, but it came about five years or so too late for me to really get excited about it and love it as much as it deserved. Toy Story 2 came out ten yeas ago, so by the time Pixar finally finished and released this final (?) installment in the trilogy, a little too much time had gone by for me to have the kind of emotional connection I used to feel for the characters, nor did saying goodbye to the characters strike as emotional a chord as it would've had I seen the previous two films more recently. But as a movie, it was absolutely phenomenal.

I'm not going to say a whole lot about this film because they are all more or less the same movie, and if you've seen the first two, you already know if you'll see and enjoy this one. It had the best animation of the three films -- obviously -- and some of the funniest lines, but I still preferred the second Toy Story film because its store was just more epic and scope, and because it was such a huge leap over the first film. But if somebody wanted to say this was the best Toy Story film ever, well, I wouldn't disagree with them. As I said about, it was brilliant. And it was also and ending, not to give anything away, so the entire film just wrapped up so wonderfully and emotionally, that it would be hard to imagine anybody not walking away satisfied. In fact, I can't even imagine anybody could sit through it without crying at least once, though I'm pretty sure I teared up multiple times throughout.

Not to spoil anything, but the scene at the end where the toys all hold hands and resign themselves to their fate at the end of the incinerator was absolutely amazing. You rarely scenes that like in any film, let alone in something that is ostensibly supposed to be a kid's film. But I think the scene that really hit me even more was when we learned about the backstory that made Lotso the way he was. If you can make it through either of those scenes without shedding a tear, well, you must be as cold and heartless as Lots-O'-Huggin'-Bear himself.

But the film elicited just as many laughs as it did tears. My favorite character by far was Michael Keaton's amazing portrayal of the Ken doll. He may have been my favorite character in the entire trilogy, and the scene where he put on a fashion show for Barbie was one of the funnies things I've ever seen in any movie. I didn't feel that it was as action packed as the second Toy Story film, but it was just as funny, and maybe had a little more of an emotional wallop. Anyway... just go see it.

Two thumbs up.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Game Consoles Round-Up

Just for fun, I'm going to run down the list of every videogame system I've ever owned. I'm not doing this to brag, since I didn't own any systems that most people didn't (except for the Sega Saturn, which nobody else wanted to own), but because I wanted to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane. I have nothing really important or historical or critical to say about each console, so I'm just going to share my memories, opinions, and reactions about each one.

Going in chronological order:

Of course, the first gaming system in our home was some kind of Atari. I don't remember which one, since I was just about three or four, but it was probably the 2600, but I also remember getting another one that was probably the 5200. Anyway, classic gaming systems that were a lot of fun.  

Though not technically the first home videogame console (I believe that would be the Odyssey), the Atari was certainly the first one to achieve world-wide fame, and I credit it with the creation of the videogame industry as the phenomenon it is today.

Nolan Bushnell, Atari's founder, later went on to create the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain. Remember those?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Video Clip of the Week: The Sammy Maudlin Show

For my money, there's never been anything on TV as funny as SCTV. And SCTV was never funnier than when they had Bobby Bittman appear on the Sammy Maudlin Show. This isn't my favorite of the Maudlin/Bittman skits, but Joe Flaherty's reaction to Bittman's joke at around one minute and thirty seconds or so is just about the funniest thing I've ever seen. I can watch that over and over again and it never stops being amazing.