Archive for March, 2011

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The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films: 41-50

March 31, 2011
[Author’s note: As some of you are probably aware, a writer is a delicate human being with a fragile psyche (oft damaged by rejection notices and unnoticed misspellings) and an apparent inability to count. Hence, this skipped-over section of the Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films is appearing now (rather than never) and screwing with the whole 1-100 countdown we all agreed on sometime last year.
Further, Fundamental Jelly has indicated he would like to hear about my current tastes in media, but I don’t really have anything useful to recount at this point, other than: Archer. Watch. This. Show. Thanks in advance for your understanding and for keeping your mocking comments to a minimum.
Oh, yeah: the previous, randomly ordered entries can be found here:
The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films Archive]

Choreography by the Mens/Ladies Restroom Dance Troupe of Greater New York.

41. West Side Story (1961)
Coming on like a glee club production of Romeo and Juliet (mixing one-half Colors with one-half Michael Jackson video), West Side Story obscures its rote storyline with just enough added elements (finger snapping, singing) to keep familiarity from breeding contempt like so many Shakespearean rabbits.

Features some of the most beloved songs ever sung by non-threatening gang members and the women who love them, including “Maria,” “I Feel Pretty” and “99 Problems.” Exceedingly musical.

James Stewart, looking as nonchalant as a telescopic zoom lens will allow him to look.

42. Rear Window (1954)
Hitchcock’s entry into the “scary murderous neighbor” genre, following closely in the footsteps of Sliver and Pacific Heights. Jimmy Stewart plays an injured man whose recuperation takes the form of scaring the bejesus out of himself (and his wife) with his obsessional, psychopathic relationship with his telescope. Is his neighbor a killer? Is 120x recommended for apartment-to-apartment viewing? Will his leg ever heal?

These questions and more will remain unanswered as the third reel has been misplaced. Sorry about that, folks. Please stop by the box office for a partial refund.

King Kong, though an effective anti-terrorist deterrent, tended to create nearly an equal amount of collateral damage in NYC.

43. King Kong (1933)
Singlehandedly credited with creating the “monster movie” genre which plagues us to this day, King Kong is a triumph of movie mythmaking. As the action shifts from the tangled jungle of what-could-possibly-go-wrong-here Monster Island to the mean streets of New York City, viewers are forced to confront uncomfortable questions about “who the real monster here is” and to what extent the love story would have gone, had biplanes and other nuisances not interrupted the mismatched couple pre-coitus.

Featuring the big screen debut of Earl, the Bigoted Horse.

44. Birth of a Nation (1915)
Early movie mogul D.W. Griffith employs a cast of thousands of whites to rewrite the history of the United States as it was still being made. Although somewhat heavy-handed and exceedingly long, Griffith manages to keep his “alternate reality” film fresh by deploying such seldom-used plot devices as the KKK in non-villain roles and a bumbling depiction of Abraham Lincoln that would not be equaled until Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (#89). The cast of thousands lauded Griffith for his “slavedriver” work ethic and lax interpretation of EOE requirements. Exceedingly long.

Brando's endorsement contract with Russell Athletic ended shortly thereafter.

45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
A Tennesee Williams’ Joint, A Streetcar Named Desire stars Marlon Brando as abusive, alcoholic everyman Stanley Kowalski whose iconic cry of “Stellaaaaaa!!!” (very often misquoted as “Adriaaaaannn!!!”) has become part of modern folklore.

Parents: Steer your children clear of this film. In addition to the psychosexual antics of some sweaty Southerners, this film also teaches kids not only to talk to strangers, but to “rely on their kindness.”

Kind of like Lenscrafters, but without the advantage of improved sight. Still, gotta love the speed!

46. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Yet another dystopian treatise on the many problems with today’s youth, not the least of which is their tendency to take long drives into the countryside for the sole purpose of smashing in someone’s skull with a large, phallic sculpture. That they are also partial to Hollywood musicals, Ludwig van Beethoven and milk is not comforting in the least, thanks to Kubrick’s ominous depiction of what was once considered an “unfilmable” book (Martin Hanford’s dada-esque tale of dislocation and hats, Where’s Waldo?).

Another “highlight” is the made-up language Nadsat, which has given the English language several new words, including ultraviolence, codpiece and tween.

De Niro, the consummate actor, heads toward his trailer to work on his "pocket pool" technique.

47. Taxi Driver (1976)
Scorsese’s ultraviolent (see above) take on the second-oldest service profession brings to life an “alternate” version of New York City where the streets are filled with rude assholes and 12-year-old hookers.

De Niro went “Method” of course, working 12-hours shifts as a cab driver when not flaunting his unlicensed weapon and nifty new mohawk. Inspired by his tireless efforts, Jodie Foster attempted a Method approach as well, resulting in the arrest of every adult on the set. Inspired by these events, a lone gunman interrupted Ronald Reagan’s portrayal of the US President with some well-placed bullets.

Inspired a new wave of filmmaking and one presidential assassination attempt, claims only equaled by Big Momma’s House and Big Momma’s House 2. Also inspired a generation of piss-poor De Niro impressions.

As is noted by the poster, being eaten by a massive mechanical shark may be "too intense" for younger children.

48. Jaws (1975)
Directly responsible for dozens of inferior monster movies and various Shark Weeks, Jaws (or Jawrs in the Northeastern US) is the tense tale of a rogue great white shark and a somewhat modern day triumph of filmmaking. Budget limits forced Spielberg to hand rig a variety of nearly-functional sharks and cast Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss over younger, more attractive men who would have better handled the main characters’ often shirtless banter.

This also explains some long stretches where many people talk about the shark but not many actually see the shark. It also explains some scale inconsistencies in which the great white is portrayed as being anywhere from the size of a large tuna to the size of a 3-bedroom ranch-style home.

Based loosely on Moby Dick and followed by several sequels which stretched the emaciated idea to the breaking point before snapping it completely and continuing forward with absolutely no ideas at all. The nadir of the series (Jaws 3D) posited that the shark was only interested in leaping or charging directly at the camera.

Snow White demonstrates how she we will be paying for only one ticket at the theater.

49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
The first Disney film on AFI’s list, Snow White is also the first animated film to be featured in AFI’s Top 100. A triumph of imagineering, Snow White does what classic Disney does best: take someone else’s story and make millions of dollars off it through aggressive marketing, merchandising and bullying copyright control.

Ostensibly the story of a deathly pale den mother for a pack of overly-hairy child laborers, this Disney film features a timeless story ripped right from the public domain pages of the Brothers Grimm and converted into a successful series of collectors’ plates, outerwear and Happy Meal toys.

There’s some other mumbo-jumbo in there about true love being more effective than CPR and the evils of strip-mining, but mainly it’s just the normal “woman falls in love with a crew of undersexed animators under the control of a marketing machine built by an undersexed megalomaniac with Howard Hughes’ tendencies.” The New York Times Review of Film calls it “timeless,” most likely referring to Disney’s apparently infinite supply of copyright extensions.

Unfortunately, a misfiring blank cost the cameraman everything but his sepia filter.

50. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Proto-bloody cop flick, except that the cops are criminals and the dangerous inner city is the frontier and that Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Filled to the brim with shootouts, hijinks and hats.

A highly romanticized portrait of two thugs with screenwritten hearts of gold and the lamest theme song (Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head) in the history of lame Oscar-winning theme songs. Features some groundbreaking bicycle usage and positive portrayals of both alcohol use and “bromance.”

-CLT

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The Mozart Makes Us Classy

March 30, 2011

SearchLOL:

[Click to enlarge.]

-CLT

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Sonic Collision V2

March 29, 2011

[Nothing but fine music and links here. The commentary belongs to you. Enjoy!
Oh, wait. I take that back. Listen to the Waka Flocka Flame mix. Tell me, why (and I know I’m oversimplifying here) if this works that well, more rap producers aren’t setting their lyrics to music like that? I like the lyrics, but the beats kill it for me most of the time. Also, be prepared to add additional lyrics to your shower version of “Gimme Shelter.”]

Previous Collisions here:
The Sonic Collision Archive

The Hood Internet – Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet (Waka Flocka Flame vs. Flock of Seagulls).mp3

The Hood Internet

DJ Earworm – Gimme Freaks (Rolling Stones vs. Moguai).mp3

DJ Earworm

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 68

March 27, 2011

[Featuring Metric, Philip Selway, Scorpion Violante, Phantom Family Halo and School of Seven Bells. Additional remix and production by Mikezilla and the always popular A Place to Bury Strangers. All musical opinions courtesy of yours truly and do not represent the views of the ownership, management and well, pretty much damn near everyone else. Need a track removed? Email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

LINKS

This week, it’s links to more links, which will give you a jump on future HR links. So, there’s that.

Looking for something to read? And not just any something, but something with teeth? And depth? The Browser’s got you covered.

Jason Kottke curates a fine set of links over at Kottke.org. Bonus fact: he designed Gawker Media’s original logo!

Crowd-sourced link farming at its best. Metafilter is both an entertaining aggregator and, depending on the link, an argument waiting to happen. The comment threads are usually worth a read.

More music here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Metric – Blindness (Mikezilla Remix).mp3

Philip Selway – Beyond Reason (Mikezilla Remix).mp3

I can’t decide whether Mikezilla’s mixes are flat-out awesome because he knows how to dust them perfectly with dancefloor magic or because he chooses impeccably beautiful source material.

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Metric’s chilling fight song and Phil Selway’s (of Radiohead) recursive tone poem get treated to Mikezilla’s pristine production and head toward the deeper end of the dancefloor all without overstaying their welcome.

Scorpion Violente – Viol et Revanche.mp3

Crank this up loud enough and suddenly you’re covered in sweat and maybe even a bit of blood being pinned to the wall of CBGB’s by Martin Rev’s pummeling drum machine and Alan Vega’s contemptuous glare.

Scorpion Violente are Suicide reborn, riding reverb over a minimal drone and body blow rhythms. There’s something about this sort of unapologetic sonic attack that brings out primal urges from those attuned to its murky beauty and frequently turns the frontmen into a combination protagonist/antagonist.

Phantom Family Halo – Blackouts and Runaways.mp3

A low-key dirge, building steadily like a storm on the horizon, gradually spreading until the sun is blotted out by the swelling blackness.

Phantom Family Halo is very reminiscent of nobody in particular. Maybe a little of the Radio Dept. in the vocals. Keep an ear out for how soon the jagged guitar shreds enter the track. It’s a long way from their first appearance to their complete domination by the closing of the track but it’s a perfectly done buildup that bleeds out like years of quiet desperation climaxing in abrupt tragedy.

School of Seven Bells – Windstorm (A Place to Bury Strangers Remix).mp3

This is stellar. A Place to Bury Strangers lay down a distorted bass riff that sounds like a classic muscle car idling while Alejandra Deheza of School of Seven Bells drapes her airy vocals across the underpinning roar like an airbrushed nude draped across the hood. Only, you know, impeccably tasteful.

The whole thing just kind of takes off, surging from throaty growl to high-rpm whine in mere moments, leaving the entire track clouded in tire smoke and gasoline fumes.

-CLT

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Sonic Collision Volume 1

March 24, 2011

As I threatened way back in the day (actually about a week ago), I’d be posting more mashups for your listening pleasure. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a high-quality pileup of tunes both familiar and un-? (Soulless assholes, that’s who. But none of the followers of this blog fit that category.)

So, here’s the first of what’s hoped to be many, many posts featuring some of the best bastard pop in the business.

tOtALcULt – Fire Breathing Fists (Charlie Sheen vs. Cypress Hill).mp3

Suffering from Sheen overexposure yet? Perhaps not so much? Can’t get enough cocaine wisdom?

It doesn’t really matter what you answer, because Totalcult is here with the remedy, which also happens to be part of the problem. Listen in awe/annoyance as Charlie talks smack over Cypress Hill’s weeded beats.

Via the always amazing Bootie Blog.

A+D – $20 Monday (M.I.A. vs. New Order).mp3

Speaking of the Bootie Blog, here are the hosts matching up M.I.A.’s languorous half-rap with one of the most famous dance tracks in the history of ever. M.I.A. does a little on-the-fly remixing of her own, quoting a bit of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”

More links:

Mashup Industries, home of DJ Clive$ter, Dan Mei, DJ Schmolli, KrazyBen, & Mark Johnce.

The incomparable Dave Wrangler.

The inexplicably named DJ Lobsterdust.

The mashup artist’s mashup artist: DJ Earworm.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 67

March 20, 2011

[Featuring April March, Azzido Da Bass, Curve, Lunatic Calm, LCD Soundsystem, and Project: Komakino. Additional production by WNC. and Soulwax. Contains last hurrahs, nostalgic waves and twee Franco-pop, among other things. If you’d like a track de-listed, please email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

LINKS

CLT — Also appearing at:

The Bygone Bureau, a Major Online Publication.

Techdirt – also fairly popular (718K subscribers via Feedburner).

Not appearing at:

Newspapermap – The world’s largest online newspaper map. (Over 10,000 clickable links handily pinned to a zoomable world map.)

This guy is so funny he makes me want to shoot myself in the brain. Check this out. And this. I wouldn’t be too surprised if you wander off there and never come back. Sad. But not surprised.

Previous Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

April March – Chick Habit.mp3

Doing business under a tastefully refined pun, April March manages to out-wink and out-nudge the master of entendre, Serge Gainsborough, with this bouncy bitchslap of a tune. It’s a mouthy little thing, chiding the philandering protagonist about his nasty chick habit and warning him of his assured downfall. It’s full of sassy couplets, the kind you’ll find yourself singing months down the road.

“Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll be alone in a quick
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll never get another fix

I’m telling you it’s not a trick
Pay attention, don’t be thick
Or you’re liable to get licked

You’re gonna see the reason why
When they’re spitting in your eye
They’ll be spitting in your eye

Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
A girl’s not a tonic or a pill
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
You’re just jonesing for a spill

Oh, how your bubble’s gonna burst
When you meet another nurse
She’ll be driving in a hearse

You’re gonna need a heap of glue
When they all catch up with you
And they cut you up in two

Now your ears are ringing
The birds have stopped their singing
Everything is turning grey

No candy in your till
No cutie left to thrill
You’re alone on a tuesday

Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll be alone in a quick
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll never get another fix

I’m telling you it’s not a trick
Pay attention, don’t be thick
Or you’re liable to get licked

You’re gonna see the reason why
When they’re spitting in your eye
They’ll be spitting in your eye”

Additional fun facts:

1. Taken from the doubly-entendred album Paris in April.
2. April March is a former animator for the Ren & Stimpy Show.

LCD Soundsystem – You Wanted a Hit (Soulwax Remix).mp3

James Murphy sounds exhausted. It’s no surprise he’s retiring LCD Soundsystem. His sentiments are the everyman exhaustion of being tied to the treadmill and hassled constantly to crank out more product. Better selling product. If it killed Cobain, then it’s probably taking years off the end of Murphy’s life as well.

It’s resignation and too-tired-to-fight-about-it complaints filed over the top of nearly-a-hit beats, aided greatly by Soulwax’s always immaculate production. Sorry, Mr. Label Exec. You can’t have what I can’t make.

“You say you wanted a hit
Well, we don’t really do hits”

Azzido da Bass – Music for Bagpipes (WNC Remix).mp3

Because, honestly, why the fuck not? Music shouldn’t have rules or guidelines. You’ve got a fistful of dancefloor electronics and Azzido Da Bass says, “Hey, a bagpipe is exactly what this needs.” Throw it in there.

Worst case scenario, you end up like Korn: remembered mainly for being 1.) kind of shite and 2.) the lead singer plays a bagpipe (and wears Weezer specs). Best case scenario? It’s the added je nai sais quois that pushes it over the top, like the intro to Jump Around. Everybody knows exactly what it is the moment they hear it.

Project: Komakino – Civility.mp3

If you’re going to be the second coming of Joy Division (and you’d better be with a name like Project Komakino) then you’ve got to do two things right:

1. Beat Interpol at their own game.
2. Do better than Peter Hook’s zombified farce that is currently touring as Joy Division (sans all original band members) with his son filling Hook’s bass-playing shoes and with Hook himself filling in for Ian Curtis, in what is the most calculatedly ugly case of nepotism since Eddie Van Halen replaced “The Secret Weapon” with his son, Wolfgang.

Project: Komakino handle both, putting together a very faithful analogue. Now you’ll have something to tell the grandkids if you’re like me and would have been all of five when JD flamed out. “I was the next best thing to there, man” you’ll say, wheezing desperately and annoyingly. The grandkids won’t even bother with a “Whom?” before leaving you to your wornout MP3s and outdated muso blogs.

Curve – Chinese Burn (Lunatic Calm Mix).mp3

This takes me back. Lunatic Calm’s riffing drum rolls and big beat bass and Curve’s Toni Halliday alternating between throaty growls and breathless swoons triggers all kinds of nostalgia. All at once it’s 1998 again and “techno” (such as it were — big beat was actually the hot thing) was just hitting America’s metaphorical shores and threatening to change everything.

Of course, it turned out to just be some sort of tidal flux and the British techno invasion swiftly returned from whence it came, leaving American slightly damp and ready to be taken advantage of by various shady characters like Limp Bizkit. And Nickelback.

But we can still dream, can’t we?

-CLT

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Internal Documents Show TSA Knew of Backscatter Imaging Radiation Problems

March 16, 2011

The TSA is back in the news again as maintenance reports have indicated that their backscatter imaging devices are emitting up to 10 times the radiation originally claimed. Understandably, this isn’t sitting well with the general public, who are now concerned that they are being robbed of valuable years off the end of their lives along with their dignity.

The TSA and the manufacturer of the device have claimed that all this stemmed from a simple misunderstanding in terminology. However, the leaked instruction manual for the Backscatter Imaging Device (or as it is popularly know, “PornoScan”) clearly indicates there were already concerns when the units shipped.

As safe as any high-powered electronic device operated by glorified security guards.

PORNOSCAN QUICKSTART GUIDE

Congratulations on your purchase of a federally-mandated PornoScan!  We know you have several less humiliating options to choose from when it comes to anti-terrorist devices and we’re glad your employers have chosen the PornoScan to serve and demoralize traveling citizens.

ASSEMBLY

First, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the contents. You should have (several) boxes, each containing (several) parts. Make sure you have everything needed to assemble your PornoScan, including a Phillips screwdriver, 151 self-tapping screws and a B.S. (minimum) in nuclear physics.

You’ll need two people to assemble this properly. When prompted, refer to the included assembly diagram. (Not included. Please call the Help Desk for replacement instructions. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.)

Note: your PornoScan (or Backscatter Imaging Device) contains time-sensitive depleted uranium. Failure to fully assemble this device will result in escalating isotope instability, which can quickly result in full core meltdown. (See Appendix 4.b. “OH SWEET JESUS, MY FACE!!!”)

To avoid causing undue passenger alarm, these mandatory stickers have NOT been shipped with your scanner.

CONTROLS

Now that your PornoScan (PS) is fully assembled, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the control panel. Let’s take a look at the four (4) status lights:

Power” – When power is on, this button will glow bright green. Due to improperly isolated isotopes, this light will also glow bright green when the device is off. A replacement containment device is on the way. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Note: The PS puts out a shitload (metric) of radiation when fully powered. Please maintain a distance of 15-20 feet when “Power” button is lit.

Standby Power” – A “power saving” setting. This will allow the device to quickly “boot up” upon passenger entry. This light will glow red when activated.

Note: This lower setting should allow you to come safely within 10 feet of the device. Be prepared to run 5-10 feet in under 0.2 seconds should a passenger enter the device thereby returning it to full power. Additional note: does not actually save power.

Standby” – Pretty much what passes for “Off” these days. Can still render you sterile within a diameter of 5 feet. Should you need to approach the device (for instance, to power up the PornoScan), please ensure your genitalia are covered with your hands and your body turned 30 degrees perpendicular to the egress of the machine. This button will glow orange if activated or if “Power” button is currently green.

PANIC” – This status light will glow red at all times UNLESS a meltdown or other catastrophic failure is detected by the onboard computer. At that point the light will switch off. DO NOT PANIC. When the PANIC light goes out, a signal is sent to the nearest TSA headquarters. Please remain calm and await further instructions. (Allow 4-6 weeks for signal delivery.)

Note: PANIC indicator light will go out when  “Standby Power” is activated. This is a normal control panel function. Do not panic unless instructed otherwise.

OPERATION

With the controls functional, it’s time to put your PS to work. In addition to providing the illusion of safety, your PS is also a time-saver, freeing up the time you usually spent mentally undressing passengers and allowing you to brush up on your gun handling skills and anger management courses.

The powerful patented “Backscatter” system now allows you to fully undress passengers without leaving your desk or closing your browser window. For added safety, post the included “Clothing Optional” sign above the entrance to the device.

Note: As is indicated by the “Backscatter” terminology, this device is chock full of flying atoms doing God knows what. Please keep door closed when not in use.

As passengers enter the noisy and possibly brightly glowing PornoScan, they may become apprehensive, especially when informed that their hands need to be in what is normally a stickup victim pose. Calm them by suggesting fun “role-play” activities like “Pretend you’re on a roller coaster,” or “Act like you’re at a party where the DJ is busting out some old skool hip hop.”

There may also be concern expressed as to the safety of the untested device itself, in particular the amount of radiation used to provide the naked scan. If your assurances that “Hey, I’ve been working with this thing for X number of hours and I’m still OK” fail to calm the passenger, refer to the information provided in Appendix 2.b. (“No, I’ll Tell YOU What Your Rights Are“) to answer their queries with various threats of detainment.

FEATURES

Let’s take a quick look at the newest features in the PornoScan 1.14 (beta). Here’s a brief list of the items your PS can detect that your average TSA agent can’t:

  • Unusually sized genitalia
  • Prosthetic devices (incl. unusually sized genitalia)
  • Confiscatable items such as high-dollar watches, jewelry and gold fillings
  • Sarcasm

In addition, the latest in bomb detection technology allows the PornoScan to detect these type of explosive devices:

  • Bundled dynamite with a clock/timer/fuse attached.
  • Black, globe-shaped bombs with a fuse attached.

Note: If timer is running or fuse is lit, DO NOT PANIC. Check “PANIC” light. It should be “on” (off). Evacuate terminal of all crucial personnel including TSA members, airline employees and gift shop staff. Next, calmly herd passengers and suspected terrorists to the nearest empty tarmac where they can be safely detonated. Finally, give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve just averted domestic terrorism!

The TSA agents quickly discovered her cast was made entirely out of "bomb."

HELPFUL TIPS

Pregnant women and women with infants will often try to smuggle their own fluids on board through the use of their “breasts.” Most of these suspects will have somewhat of a haggard glow about them. APPROACH WITH CAUTION. In addition to harboring “breast fluids,” their glow will often turn to vitriolic hatred once confronted.

Other women may be carrying saline or silicone in their “breasts.” To date these fluids have not been linked to terrorist activity. Play it safe and investigate further.

Good luck in your fight against terror! Armed with this information (and your gun) you should prepared to deal with any uncomfortable situation!

(Addendum: The manufacturers of the PornoScan and your management team would like to remind you to refer to the device by its proper name [Backscatter Something Something] while on duty.)

-CLT