Saturday, February 20, 2010

So, Vera Farmiga (and other thoughts on The Prevue Channel, Gerard Butler's career and roaches)

Sometimes I just have random stuff to say, and Coffee Drinker Mindy D'A is always quick to tell me these posts are her favorites...

As the figure skating comes out, someway, somehow, at least once during the night I will shout (sometimes to The Lovely Steph Leann's annoyance) "Toe Pick!" in a high, shrill voice, just like that "Cutting Edge" movie.


When I see figure skating pairs, I'm convinced that the two are romantically involved... but I'm equally as convinced the guy is gay.  How does that skating paradox work?...


 So... men's figure skaters.  Is is a shirt?  Is it a blouse?  Is there a difference in the two?


In that contest where you can win a trip to the Olympics for the rest of your life, I'm picturing every executive on the edge of their seats when the winner is drawn... "What? He's 88 years old? Whew! That would have totally been crappy if some 27 year old won this thing!"


After years of announcing the Olympics, Bob Costas must know more random, useless geography facts than anyone in the history of the world.  "And here comes the Dutch team.  Of course, we know that the Dutch town of Leeuwarden can be spelled 225 different ways..."


We were having dinner at The Campbell Home a few nights ago, and The Lovely Steph Leann noticed in a Wal-Mart flier that "The Biggest Loser" for the Wii game was on sale for $29.99.  I just happened to have a $30 Wal-Mart gift card burning a hole in my pocket, so a few days later, I purchased it.  The next night, I pointed it out to her, told her that I thought she might like it, we could do it together and so forth.   And what did we do later that night?  You guessed it. 

Sat on the couch, ate Girl Scout cookies and watched television, Wii game still in the wrapper on the end table.


My latest "Crappy Movie With Mikey" movie was "Law Abiding Citizen".  This film stars Gerard Butler as Clyde Shelton, a man who watches his family get senselessly murdered in a robbery, then watches the leader of the crime roll over on the not-as-violent partner and essentially get off on a technicality.  Years later, he sets out to get revenge on everyone who allowed this to happen.  Jamie Foxx portrays Nick Rice, the fledgling district attorney who is trying to stop him from killing more people.

The first part of the movie is intriguing... a man set on vengeance for the slaughter of his family, he's in prison, yet how is he still getting these assassinations completed?  The game is afoot.  The second half of the film, when Clyde's resources and back story is revealed, sort of... well, completely falls apart.  It goes from a "What would I do in this situation?  Would I want revenge too" kind of thinking movie to a "Wow.  That's kind of a stretch.  Wow, now that is really a stretch.  Wow, that's kind of ridiculous" kind of thinking movie. 

Its full of violence and F-Bombs, and really, its 2 hours that you could spent elsewhere, unless you are just jonesing to see this movie or Gerard Butler.  It does have a really cool death, though, involving a cell phone and a judge.

And what happened to Gerard Butler, anyway?  Remember him in "300"?  He was this awesome dude that was in "Phantom of the Opera", and he was this guy that we all just knew was going to have a rockin' big career full of action flicks and great starring roles... and then he did "P.S. I Love You"... and then he did "The Ugly Truth"... and then he did "Nim's Island"... really, Gerard?  Really? 


Ever seen the movie "Creepshow"?  Its not a terrible film, its meant to be a little schlocky and campy--its a series of vignettes from a horror comic book, with the screenplay written by Stephen King.   My favorite of the stories is entitled "Something to Tide You Over", and it features Leslie Nielsen (!) as a bad guy who, at least in the beginning, gets the best of Ted Danson and his woman. 

The most disturbing of all of the shorts, however, is the last one, called "They're Creeping Up On You".  Essentially, a mean, bad man who suffers from Mysophobia and lives in a sealed off, germ-free apartment has a problem with roaches.  A very, very big problem.

Though in now-over 2 years at The Cabana, I have yet to see a roach, we'd routinely see them at The Deuce.  Its not that our apartment was dirty (stop laughing), but in the neighborhood, plus with the roommates and the rest of the world visiting, it happens.  Even then, though, when I saw a cockroach in The Deuce, I could get it sometimes... other times, it would escape behind behind something and disappears.  So I'd go to bed, knowing that cockroach was alive and well, sometimes in my room.  And, thinking back to "Creepshow", I just knew that that stupid roach was talking with talking with 4,000 of his children and friends, making plans for a revolution.  Viva la 'cacaroacha! 


When I go onto the iTunes store, I look at the section that says "Recommendations For You".  I'm assuming iTunes bases this on music I've listened to recently, and maybe listen to on a regular basis.  This time around?  They recommend the soundtrack to "Kung Fu Panda", albums by Madonna, The Police,  and They Might Be Giants and singles by Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Julie Andrews, The Kinks and some guy named Marco Marnengeli.  So not only am I actually 14 years old, I'm apparently living in 1986.


If you actually punched some random guy after seeing one of those new Volkswagens, chances are you'd get punched back, regardless of the color.


Anyone remember Gatorade Fruit Punch, or Grape, or Lemon Lime?  Life was easy then.  Now its all kind of weird flavors and concoctions like G2 and Elite and Mountain Blast and Shock & Awe.  I miss Fruit Punch.


Along that same lines, anyone remember when The Prevue Channel existed?   Covering most of the screen, it did nothing but scroll what was on every other channel... and when nothing was on TV, you left it on The Prevue Channel--for hours at a time.  It would show commercials and trailers for movies coming on HBO and network television, but it was great background noise.

Says It's TV more hypnotizing than Peter Jennings' baritone. More riveting than bouncing Baywatch body parts. It's the Prevue Channel -- that excruciatingly slow scroll that lists what's on the tube's every channel. All My Children... Tennis...Pictionary...and on and on. Some folks tune in for actual information -- and tear their hair out with impatience. Me, I like the Prevue Channel as a mesmerizing end in itself -- my own electronic lava lamp. I savor the endless, repetitive looping. The fun bubbles of red that denote premium channels. The cryptic, haiku-like movie descriptions. (''Deconstructing Harry: A prominent author is plagued with writer's block and numerous personal problems.'') But my favorite moment has to be when the Prevue Channel scrolls by the listing for the Prevue Channel itself, and I learn that I am watching... previews. What a gorgeously self-referential moment! What a brilliant metaphor for our onanistic media culture! -- from 1998

Now?  We have The TV Guide channel, and I can't watch it.  The scrolling part--which is why you'd turn it on the TV Guide channel in the first place--takes about 1/4 of the screen, showing maybe 3 or 4 shows at a time.  Then, they've got their own programming, plus they show other channel's shows, so you end up getting caught up in this girl who's makeover is going to have her end up looking like Reese Witherspoon, even though she looks, and will look, nothing like Reese Witherspoon, you watch anyway, and then you realize you were waiting to see what was on TNT, and you realize you just missed it, and you have to wait for it to scroll again...

Or you can just pick up your remote and use the guide function and look to see what time "Law & Order" comes on.  I can answer that, though... probably 10am, 2pm, 3pm, 7pm and 9pm.  That's just a guess.


When you are trying to merge in front of me, you have about 2 or 3 seconds to do so.  Then, I'm moving up, cause I got stuff to do.  Hey!  Don't merge in front of me now, you had your chance, so back off.


Dear seatbelt... please note the difference between "about to hit a brick wall head-on" and "trying to adjust in my seat".


For that matter, Dear Automatic Flushing Toilet... please note the difference between "I'm done here" and "trying to adjust in my seat".  That water is cold. 


So, Vera Farmiga.  She's one of the two lead actresses in "Up in the Air"... I say "lead", even though she and Anna Kendrick are both nominated for an Academy Award for Supporting Actress.  I loved this film, every single minute of it, and though its rare for me to feel this way, I would have been happy with a few more minutes. 

It tells the story of Ryan Bingham, played by also-nominated George Clooney, who's job is to travel all over the country and be the mediator when a company wants to lay people off.   Natalie (Kendrick) is a new recruit who's developed a system of eliminating the travel--firing via satellite.  Bingham convinces their boss (a great Jason Bateman) that Natalie needs to learn how its really done, so she's sent with him across the country to teach her how to do it face-to-face.

Along the way, Ryan keeps running into Alex (Vermiga), who is another frequent flier, and they develop a relationship in hotel rooms and where ever they can find a place... but of course, there might be real feelings there after a while.   Jason Reitman, director of "Juno", wrote and directed this flick.

On December 29th, 2009, I realized I had not seen this film, and wanted to get it in before 2010 began, mostly so I could include it The 100 Coolest Things of 2009 (and its on the list, high up).  The only night available that week?  New Year's Eve.   So, sometime later in the evening, with no particular New Year's Eve plans (remember when what you were doing for New Year's Eve was a big deal?  Like, you had plans for weeks of who's house to be at during the stroke of midnight, or when you were single, who you'd be with or hope to be with, or maybe you'd have the big bash at your house, hoping all your friends would come over, and maybe, just maybe The Official Clouds in My Coffee Troy State Crush Tiffany Abbott would show up and... where was I?  Yeah...) we figured, why not go see the film. 

It was a 2+ hour movie, with a start time of 10pm, and much to our delight, the theater was empty.  Completely empty.  We kicked back, threw our feet up and enjoyed being able to talk louder... until someone walked in, a woman who came in and sat about four rows ahead of us, all by herself.  Don't know how it happened, who knows how stuff like this happens, but The Lovely Steph Leann and I ended up chatting with her, and finally, I said, "'re Andrea Lindenberg... NBC, right?"  She said, "Yeah, that's me!" and I shared with her that I worked there for a while, and we chatted about that and so on.

It seems that Andrea's kids were seeing something else, but she didn't want to see it so she came in here.   The movie began, and about 2 hours later, I looked at my watch and said aloud, "Happy New Year" to chuckles from the woman four rows ahead of me and the woman to my left. 

Back to the movie... it does have language, and one seen where you see a nude woman's back, but that's it... and yeah, I loved it.  I am eager to see it again when it hopefully comes to the Ghetto Theater here in town.  Not only did it have airplanes and airports, which I strangely am fascinated with, it had George Clooney, who like Brad Pitt, I contend if given the right material is a phenomenal actor, it had the cutie-patootie Anna Kendrick, who was the only thing that kept me alive during the movie "Twilight", it had great writing, it had likable, if not sympathetic characters, it featured appearances from the cool voiced Sam Elliott, the comedic Danny McBride, the always awesome JK Simmons, "The Hangover"'s Zach Galifianakis and the I-am-strangely-enthralled-with Melanie Lynskey, and... it had Vera Farmiga.

So, Vera Farmiga.   I think I'm categorizing her with Jennifer Garner and applying the McGriddle Effect.  I cannot decide if Vera is drop dead gorgeous or just pretty at all.  There really is no in-between. 

Alright.  Gotta go to The Happiest Place in the Mall.


  1. Ah yes, the random D$ thoughts blog - they really do make my day sometimes.

    I laughed when I read the "figure skating pairs..." thought on FB this week and giggled again tonight when I read it.

    Thank you for confirming my thoughts that Law Abiding Citizen was crap. Say what you want to about Gerry Butler, but he's paying the bills. I completely forgot he was in Nim though - and with Jodie Foster too. I am intrigued by the new flick with Jen Aniston (Bounty Hunter), though the media fascination with their potential off-camera relationship is driving me insane (it's a short trip, I know). According to IMDB, he has several movies in pre-production with another handful in development. Gerry's workin' it!

  2. My husband even yells out "Toe pick!" during the Olympics!


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