Saturday, November 29, 2008


Attention Filmmakers:
If you can't make it work when you have
a young Clint Eastwood and a monkey,
you're in the wrong fucking business.

A Love Letter to Planet B-Boy

Let me introduce to my new favorite movie of the year. It's called Planet B-Boy. We met a couple nights ago and we're in love. Now, I know what you're saying, "What about Shotgun Stories? You told us that Shotgun Stories" was your number one." I can't deny that we had a great run together but I've met someone new. There will always be a spot in my heart for Shotgun Stories but everyone is just going to have to accept that I've made the best decision for me. If you don't believe me, let me tell you tell you a little bit about my new love.

The first thing I noticed about Planet B-Boy
was how beautiful she was.

She showed me a world I'd never seen before...
and introduced me to all her friends.

We spent the entire night talking about hip-hop.
Then last night, we did it all over again.
It reminded me of the first time I met Style Wars.
I'll never forget you, Style Wars.

So, no offense to Shotgun Stories. You're an amazing movie. I really liked watching you. It's not you, it's me...I just feel that I'm at a place in my life where I need to watch fascinating documentaries about worldwide breakdancing competitions. Do you understand what I'm saying? Who knows? Maybe I'll watch you again in a couple months. Life is crazy. Nobody knows the future. And you'll most likely be my number two of the year. You beat out a LOT of movies. That's nothing to get mad about...oh, come on, I didn't want this to happen. You're going to find someone who truly appreciates you. I'm just sorry that that couldn't have been me.

It's been nice knowing you, Shotgun Stories. Keep it real.
Stop calling my home phone.

2009 Oscar Season



Film School Rejects have brought me some good news for the holiday season.

I was a sophomore in high school when the previews for X-Men started popping up. As an avid fan of the comic books, the FOX cartoon, the action figures, the collectible cards, and pretty much anything else related to my favorite band of mutants, the first teaser trailers made myself and my equally nerdy friends pretty gosh darn excited.

The discussions began immediately. Which of the X-Men are going to be in the movie? Cyclops and Professor X, for sure. Hopefully Beast and Rogue. Will they don the blue and yellow costumes? Doubt it. Who's gonna be the villain? Probably Magneto, maybe Apocalypse. Where's the Salt and Vinegar Pringles? Probably by the computer.

That paint a familiar picture for you too?

One of my best friends is a huge Gambit fan. While I was rooting for a Jubilee appearance (don't ask, I can't explain it), he was praying Gambit would show up in all of his card-throwing, trench coat wearing glory. Then we watched the movie. My favorite character got a split-second shot in the last minute of the film while his favorite wasn't shown at all. We were both surprised and pleased by the amount of screentime Colossus received even if that accent was pretty rough.

A couple years later, X2 came out. As the Gambit fans already know, the closest thing we got was the name "Remy LeBeau" shown on a computer screen. By the time X-Men: The Last Stand came out, we were positive that it was Gambit's time. Nope. Ben "My Least Favorite Actor" Foster played a terrible Angel. Thirty thousand unnamed mutants fought it out in one of the least exciting battles of all time. The movie overall blew chunks and Gambit was nowhere to be seen. Maybe it was a good thing.

Now Wolverine's got his own movie. La-Di-Da. Almost as overrated as Superman, Wolverine is one of those superheroes that I never cared much about. However, this new film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (awful title) will feature everyone's favorite Cajun cardplayer! Gambit will be played Taylor Kitsch from Friday Night Lights which should make some of my other friends pretty happy. Not only that, the other mutants showing up include Deadpool, Sabretooth, and The Blob (my favorite villian). Gavin Hood, the director of the impressive Tsotsi (2005), will take the helm on this project which is slated to be released on May 1st of next year.

So, we finally get to see Gambit. Hurrah. But what about Jubilee? She was Wolverine's sidekick throughout multiple comic series. Now they're making a Wolverine movie and she's not going to make an appearance? Lame sauce.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Three Scenes I Love: Paranoid Park

Whitney and I just watched Gus Van Zant's Paranoid Park. I'm a fan of his other work, and am especially looking forward to Milk since I was living in San Francisco during the time of its filming. Elephant still impresses me while continuing to make me ask the question: does this guy know what he's doing or does he just guess and experiment while the cameras are rolling?

Paranoid Park was hyped to me by a friend and fellow film student back in San Francisco. He swore the film was amazing and tried his damnedest to get us to attend one of the many screenings taking place around town. Sadly, I never got the chance. Well, that's not true, I had many chances and took advantage of none of them. Stupid me. The film was amazing and I recommend it to all of you. It's on DVD now and in attempt to rectify my stupidity, I'm dedicating this week's Three Scenes I Love solely to Paranoid Park. Thanks for the hype, Taylor, I wish I had listened.

Scene One
Alex is in the shower and the water is falling off his hair. It's difficult to explain with words, and my aesthetics professor would have probably advised me to keep this one to myself in an attempt to somehow protect it's specialness. But I'm going to share it anyway because I like you guys. Don't let me down.

Scene Two
Alex inaudibly breaks up with his girlfriend. One of the most pleasing scores I've ever heard plays over the scene and the camera focuses solely on her facial reaction. She's talking but we don't hear her voice. "Oh my God" forms on her mouth and a dual-handed shove hits Alex in the chest. The deed is done. Damn, that feels satisfying.

Scene Three
Alex's little brother goes on and on describing different scenes from Napoleon Dynamite to him. It's hilarious. I would guess that Alex's brother is probably the most underrated character in this movie. Not only was the actor's performance good, Van Zant wrote a hell of a character. I'd bet Blake Nelson had a little something to do with it as well.

His parents are split up and getting a divorce. He can't keep his food down. With all that going on, he still tries to keep his spirits up and his family's too. Whitney has a theory that the kid didn't know the cameras were rolling and he just happened to deliver one of the funniest scenes I've seen this year. Maybe others won't find it as humorous as I did, but it killed me.

Here's a video clip with the second and third scenes in it. Fast forward to the 4:30 mark and hit play. The two scenes are right after one another. Enjoy the clip, but you should really see this movie. Taylor from my film program was right, Paranoid Park is incredible. Turns out, it actually did deserve the praise you gave it. Everyone, go watch this the next time you're in the mood for high-quality moviemakin'.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Ultimate...

For those who really know me, you know just how happy this makes me.
You also know just how long I've been waiting for this.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh, There He Is

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Gabriel "Mr. Class" Iglesias.

Where are all my fat comedians?

Life is a little less funny now.
Fat = Funny
That's what my fourth grade report card.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2009 Oscar Season


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Three Scenes I Love: Deleted Scenes

High Fidelity

My life is [______this______] much better now.
I just found out that this scene even existed. Somehow, I skipped the deleted scenes but watched all the Making Of special features. It's my second favorite movie but apparently I've been less than interested in seeing the cutting room floor scraps. That is, until I absorbed Nick Hornby's book.

A betrayed wife attempts to screw over her cheating hubby by selling his lutra-rare record collection for fifty bucks. This was one of the best scenes in the book! How could this not make it into the movie? Well, it looks like it almost made it into movie. Not only did the scene get shot, it featured Beverly D'Angelo! I don't think the scene deserved to be cut -- you be the judge.

The Boondock Saints

This one's for my friend Laura (the one who made my amazing banner). She showed me this scene one night and we both larfed and larfed. The interesting thing about Laura is that her favorite movies include Pride & Prejudice, Little Women, Gosford Park, and Ever After. Then, from straight out of left-field, she also loved The Boondock Saints. One of the most violent, sin-packed 110 minutes ever films. I love it, but I was surprised that she did too.

I can understand why this scene was cut. It doesn't really move the story along and sorta takes the film in an unneeded direction as far as subplots go, but it's so damn funny. Really funny. I know it's long, but stick with it to the end, it's worth watching. I don't know who this woman is, but she cracks me up. Wonder if she'll be in the sequel...

The Warriors

I can't understand why the High Fidelity scene was cut. I understand why the Boondock Saints scene was cut but wish it wasn't. I love this scene because it's NOT in the movie. One of The Warriors' best qualities is how tight the film remains. As mentioned in my second-ever blog post, way back in April, the use of a limited time-frame (in this case, around twelve or so hours) greatly strengthens the suspense of heroes journey. They've got to make it home now. Every gang in the city is looking for them and they've got to move.

I was really disappointed when I read Sol Yurick's book for a number of reasons. It still used the limited time-frame, which made the suspense effective, but the way the movie just starts amist the action, creates a pace which doesn't slow down until the end of the film. Thie book starts off with talking. It's a "Here, let me explain everything to you and then we'll start the movie" sort of thing. This scene would have done the same thing to the movie. I'm always happy to find out more about my favorite movie but when I saw this scene, I knew right away that Walter Hill made the right choice. Actually, there are quite a few deleted scenes from The Warriors floating around the internet, and not one of them, in my opinion, belong in the movie. And that feels good.

And those are three scenes I love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Never Heard of It: Bright Leaves (2003)

LIVE FEED COMMENT (0:00:14): Whitney rented a documentary on tobacco. Should be pretty interesting.

What appeared to be just another documentary on the harmful effects of tobacco turned out to be much more interesting. Here's the gist of Bright Leaves: the filmmaker, a guy named Ross McElwee, decided to make a personal documentary about his family and their involvement in the booming tobacco industry of the late-1800s. Turns out that his great-grandfather competed against James Buchanan Duke (who later founded Duke University) at the turn of the century.

Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) directed a film called Bright Leaf starring Gary Cooper, Lauren Bacall, and Patricia Neal. The film tells the story of two competing tobacco farmers which McElwee thinks is based on his grandfather's story. He travels to North Carolina to interview a slew of people about his homestate's history, attempting to piece together the puzzle that is his family history.

LIVE FEED COMMENT (0:05:42): That guy is living my dream.

His cousin, a film collector screens a print of Bright Leaf for him and the adventure begins. The documentary does an effective job of weaving together many interconnecting narrative lines. The viewer learns about the McElwee family line, Southern history, the evolution of early tobacco enterprising, and Hollywood's Golden Age. Not to mention, in one of the film's most enthralling segments, film historian and theorist Vlada Petric pushes the camera-weiling moviemaker around in a makeshift wheelchair dolly while explaining the use of kinetics in film.

LIVE FEED COMMENT (0:48:27): This is one of the most interesting scenes I've ever seen in my entire life. I can hardly understand what he's trying to convey but it doesn't matter. Every documentary should have a low-angle dolly tracking shot. If I made a documentary, every interview scene would be shot in Spike Lee tracking shots.

As the film continues on, it becomes increasingly clear how personal the subject matter is to McElwee. What's impressive is how tight he's able to keep the film. Coming in at about 105 minutes, Bright Leaves is incredibly succinct. I'd imagine that the more you're personally invested in the subject matter the more difficult placing limits on yourself becomes. Somehow, McElwee keeps everything in line and the result is an incredibly interesting film that's definitely worth watching. Out of all the Never Heard of It films so-far, this is the one I would recommend. Hence,

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Dawn of the Dead vs. Apocalypse Now"

That's how the creator of my new favorite graphic novel monster miniseries is describing his new project. The series is ZMD: ZOMBIES OF MASS DESTRUCTION. According to Den of Geek, Kevin Grevioux (Underworld) has recently sold the movie rights to production company Benderspink (A History of Violence) and it's scheduled to come out in 2011.

Want the plot? Here's the plot:
The government's dropping zombies on the Middle East!


In a plan that just SCREAMS Dubya, the powers-that-be unleash the undead in an effort to kill off enemy troops. Thanks to science, some Mr. Smarty Pants figured out a way to make the zombies "photosensitive" which is a 85+ IQ word for don't like the light. When the sun comes up, they disintegrate (85+ IQ word for turn to dust). So, until the sun comes up, they go around and spread their zombism to the locals. Come sunrise, the original zombies and the newly-converted turn Iraq into an ashtray. Craziness ensues when the original zombie finds out that he's immume to the sun. So are the zombies he creates. Call in the Navy SEALS and you've got yourself one hell of a Fourth of July pachanga.

The first issue just came out and the next five will be released through next year. Even though the movie isn't coming out until 3/4 into Obama's first term, the Gods have decided that this will be the most interesting project of my mid-twenties. We're gonna be following this one through completion. On the day of its release, He Shot Cyrus is going to celebrate! I'm talking steamer, zombie-themed cakes, and if our budget allows, a George Romero look-a-like contest.
Keep your eyes and ears open for future updates.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Show Was Still On the Air?

Rest in Peace

Were These Shows on Television?

I guess they're not anymore. NBC just canceled them.
If you've never seen them, they're new to you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Top 100 Favorite Movies (in Order!)

01. The Warriors
02. High Fidelity
03. Do the Right Thing
04. Dangerous Minds
05. The Karate Kid Part II
06. Matinee
07. Back to the Future
08. Born in East L.A.
09. Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme
10. The Birdcage11. Tootsie
12. Jurassic Park
13. The Truman Show
13a. The Seven-Up Series
(I wasn't sure a series could count)
14. Style Wars
15. Halloween
16. Unfaithful
17. Scratch
18. Superbad
19. Assault on Precinct 13
20. Dogtown and Z-Boys 21. Strangers on a Train
22. Imitation of Life
23. The Hudsucker Proxy
24. Escape to Witch Mountain
25. The Palm Beach Story
26. Say Anything
27. Kill Bill Vol. 1
28. Notting Hill
29. Marathon Man
30. Home Alone II: Lost in New York31. Old Boy
32. Hackers
33. Dark Days
34. Airplane!
35. Escape from Alcatraz
36. Waiting for Guffman
37. Dog Day Afternoon
38. Rear Window
39. Best in Show
40. Reservoir Dogs41. The Freshman
42. The 400 Blows
43. Clueless
44. Duck Soup
45. Dazed and Confused
46. Life Stinks
47. The Boondock Saints
48. Coming to America
49. Take the Money and Run
50. The Godfather51. For Love or Money
52. Return to Oz
53. Dirty Harry
54. Demolition Man
55. Boyz n the Hood
56. The Bicycle Thief
57. Matilda
58. Empire Records
59. The Wood
60. 18761. The Descent
62. 3 Ninjas
63. Cinemania
64. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze
65. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
66. Night of the Living Dead
67. Battle Royale
68. Manhattan Murder Mystery
69. The Sandlot
70. The Gauntlet
71. With Honors
72. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
73. The Great Escape
74. Tortilla Soup
75. The Player
76. Hannah and Her Sisters
77. The Fugitive
78. The Orphanage
79. Rock the Bells
80. The Conversation81. Fargo
82. In America
83. Monster Camp
84. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
85. Kramer vs. Kramer
86. The Brave Little Toaster
87. Groundhog Day
88. Stand by Me
89. The People Under the Stairs
90. El Crimen Del Padre Amaro91. All About My Mother
92. That Thing You Do
93. Stroszek
94. Taxi Driver
95. Love Actually
96. Labyrinth
97. Brown Sugar
98. Streets of Fire
99. Daddy's Little Girls
100. Meet the FeeblesThere you have it. My Top 100 Favorite Films of All-Time.
It took over a week to put the list together.
Even if you don't like my choices or my rankings,
you've got to give me props for putting them in order!

What do you think?

Susan Dey

Where have you been my entire life?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Thankful For

1. Joseph Campanella's dream of a weekly blog-a-thon was an inspired one.
2. Its demise was sad to me.
3. Risen from the ashes like Phoenix, Arizona (thanks to the LAMB), the blog-a-thon is back!
4. It's monthly now.

This month's theme: Who I'm Thankful For

My hometown used to have an amazing one-screen, independently-owned, art house movie theater. Before the theater closed, I had a job there and I loved it. My true love for film began at the Granada Theater. Films like El Crimen Del Padre Amaro sold out to half-overjoyed/half infuriated filmgoers with me sitting in the back row, amazed at the new shapes and forms that movies were taking.

One night, I was sitting in the office, flipping through a newspaper. Then I saw a picture of William H. Macy, who I immediately recognized as The Shoveller from Mystery Men. Later, I found out that I should have recognized him from Magnolia, Boogie Nights, or State and Main, but I hadn't seen any of those back then. I loved Mystery Men. The Shoveller was making a personal appearance at a film festival in San Jose, CA. Thinking it might be fun to meet my favorite garden-tool weilding superhero, I asked my dad if he'd go with me to Cinequest. A few weeks later, I was shaking hands with The Shoveller. I'm thankful for the Cinequest Film Festival.

[Note: If ANYONE can find this film (any region)
with English subtitles, I'll pay top dollar.]

After listening to William H. Macy talk about how everyone involved with Pleasantville thought it was going to change the world and about preparing for his sex scenes in The Cooler (which was in post-production at that time), my dad and I bought tickets for a Chinese film called Violin. We'd never heard of the movie before, or any of the people starring in it, but we thought we'd check it out anyway. Clearly, the movie was great. That's why I've been trying to hunt down a copy for five years.

My dad and I have been back to Cinequest every year since. We've seen countless movies, seen a couple celebs (Ben Kingsley, Jon Polito, Danny Glover, Kyle Gass, etc.), and had a great time every single year. Cinequest is known for their shorts programs. We scheduled our weekends around the Comedy Shorts programs until they stopped holding them.

When we first started attending the programs, the quality of the films varied greatly from movie to movie. Some where shot by semi-professional crews while others were shot at home on camcorders by total amateurs. Since the festival has begun to gain notoriety, the budgets of all the films have risen greatly. The first hint of change is when Alex Borstein showed up in one of the shorts (Billy's Dad is a Fudgepacker). Then another short (D.E.B.S.) was picked up by a studio for a full-length adaptation. Nowadays, it isn't strange to see end credits that are longer than the film you just watched. It's different with the higher budgets, but it's all part of the Cinequest that I'm thankful for.

A lot of things have changed since the Granada Theater closed. The next year, I worked for a video store and rented over 1,000 movies from them in 365 days. By then, I had seen nearly every mainstream studio picture put out between 1980 and 2000. As it turned out, that wasn't quite the greatest preparation for film school, which was my next move. Now I'm working on my thesis, living in another state, and enjoying the 7-at-a-Time Netflix rentals that my girlfriend and I get in the mail less constantly than one would hope. And I'm blogging. But while all of that is going on, I'm waiting for Cinequest 2009. Actually, what I'm really waiting for is Cinequest Schedule Day. That's the day that I cancel every other plan. Call in sick for work. Turn off the phone. Log on to the Cinequest site. RefreshRefreshRefresh. Timetables, running times, scheduling conflicts, back up schedules. It's better than Christmas.

I'm very, very thankful for the Cinequest Film Festival and all the people made it possible to shake the hand of The Shoveller.

Keith Olbermann's Commentary on Prop. 8

Ever since the election, I've felt pretty damn uninspired to write anything. Don't get me wrong, Obama as President made me the happiest I've been in a long time. But California's passing of Prop. 8 made me sadder than I've been in an even longer time. I know this isn't about movie. I know that's what you usually click my links to read about but it's just not in me right now. I promise, regular scheduled programming will be back soon. Until then, listen to Olbermann.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Universal Monsters and Prop. 8

Pro Gay Marriage

Bride of Frankenstein
Her name is "Bride of Frankenstein." She was made to be a monster's wife. By the end of her movie, she has rejected her man leaving him to be buried underneath the laboratory he just blew up. A Bride sequel was in the works which followed her as she fell in love with a fair young woman from Notre Dame. Test studies showed that 1920s audiences weren't quite ready for a Monster/Gypsy lesbian silver screen romance. Bride, who later legally changed her name to "Enid," proudly cast her absentee vote against Prop. 8 right before boarding a Rosie Cruise to Puerto Vallarta.

After being struck on the head by 160 tons of bricks, the newly single Frankenstein made some life changes. Some of them included hiking, hitting the gym twice a week, and renewing his online subscription to Jewish Adult Monster Friend Finder. After dating The Invisible Man's ex-girlfriend, Sue (who went on to marry a stretchy doctor), Frankenstein's world opened up. After an eventful afternoon at an animal rights meeting, Frank found his new passion in protesting. While his protest chants aren't always the most creative (DOGGGGGGGG!), his doctor-revived heart is in the right place. After coming to terms with "Enid's" new life, his protests switched to the Gay Rights movement. What's next for the busy activist? When asked, Frank was quoted as saying, "A Greenpeace rally on Monday, and then we prep for Yom Kippur."

Dr. Jekyll
He's a doctor. He's smart. He voted no.

Dracula actually believes in traditional marriage between one man and one woman. However, his repeatred run-ins with religious fanatics has pushed him to always vote against the Catholics and the Mormons. It's reported that Dracula recieved threatening phone calls when his anti-Mitt Romney ad ran during daytime television commercial slots.

Against Gay Marriage

This picture explains itself.
Side note, Esmeralda, also had a wonderful time on the Rosie Cruise.
But who doesn't have fun on a Rosie Cruise?

Mr. HydeHe's a monster. He's insane. He voted yes.

Creature of the Black Lagoon
The Black Lagoon was put on the map during the last few months from their constant, almost overbearing, support of Senator Obama. One unhappy Black Lagoon citizen has spoken out against his liberal community. During his late-night Public Broadcast television show, Creature Preacher, the Creature aired his special Please Obey, Don't Be Gay, which featured special local guests that included Pastor Ted Haggard and Satan. After the special aired, Creature was delighted to receive a check in the mail from a one Joe Smith (pseudonym?) for $4,500 with "Keep up the good work, brother" written in the memo section. The day after the election, Creature aired another special called Pro-Life/Pro-Wife which garnered him another $4,500 support check. Things seemed to be looking up the half-fish/half-man when Republican Governer Arnold Schwarchenegger passed a bill that would allow big businesses to dump their sewage waste into local lakes, rivers, and ponds. The final episode of Creature Preacher aired on November 9th, 2008.