Friday, July 25, 2008

Stay Gold

I never knew Estelle Getty, but I imagine she was an okay lady. Out of the the 3 elderly women and a power forward, she was definitely my favorite on the show. Hell, I even dressed as her for once for Halloween. It may have been impossible to make a 6 foot black man look like a 4'3 old lady, but I think I did a good job.

There were a couple of people who mistook me for Tyler Perry's character Madea, but a few fist fights brought that to an end. That was the night I also learned Estelle was actually the youngest of the Golden Girls...and the hottest (sorry Blanche).

So yeah... take her easy Estelle...take her easy all the way home.

P.S Sam Dixon if you are reading this and you have the picture of you dressed as Bee Arthur on the same night (the power forward) please help a brother out.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Wise Man Once Said: "Fuck Em' If They Can't Take a Joke"

When it rains it pours. The Goddess of laughter bestowed her bounty upon me last week in many different forms. The first blessing came in the shape of the documentary: “King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. On the surface this film is a report on retro video games and the quest to be recognized as the best gamer in the world via the international scoreboard maintained by Twin Galaxies. Soon the viewer steps out of the documentary and into a classic tale of good vs. evil. Since 1982 Billy Mitchell has held the record for highest score on Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. Obviously he is also gunning for the record of the world’s biggest tool as well. All is going well for Mr. Mitchell until a father in Washington is laid off from his job. After loosing his job, Steve Wiebe dedicates himself to usurping Billy Mitchell as the King of Kong. So begins a story of dedication, cronyism, heartbreak and redemption. There is no way I can do this film justice; I suggest you go rent it immediately. My friend Ashton, whose opinion I hold in high regard, stated that King of Kong slid in behind The Big Lebowski as funniest movie of all time. High praise indeed, but I would say it’s somewhere in my top 10. The only movie I can compare it to is the documentary American Movie. “It’s pronounced Cuh-ven”. King of Kong will have you engaged much more deeply than you should be comfortable with. An early favorite for Netflix rental of the year…by the way Netflix will offer streaming video on Macs sometime in 2008…HIYOOOOO!

Friday night my sister took me to go see Chris Rock. For me this is equivalent to traveling back in time to hear Martin Luther King speak or seeing Black Sabbath (with Ozzy) live. I always thought I would have to scam the Make-A-Wish foundation to see Chris Rock, but Erica saved me from a potential lawsuit. Rock delivered one of the best stand-up routines I’ve seen to date. Only rivaled by his “Never Scared” special or Chappelle’s “Killing Em’ Softly”. His act was so well done that I have trouble picking out a favorite topic or punch line. The part about Anna Nicole Smith’s crew of all black pallbearers and the consistency of her notable endowments definitely stood out. Much love and thanks to Mario Joyner who warmed up the crowed magnificently. Even though Chris Rock was due to come on stage, I wasn’t done listening to him make me laugh like a giddy hyena. A great show, and I also found out that Jim Gaffigan is coming to town. If I can manage to make it out to that show I would have seen Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Chris Rock and Gaffigan all in the same year and all in Richmond. Now if I can coax Sinbad out of retirement I can die happy. One suggestion for Chris Rock however: Come back to doing sketch comedy!

While on the topic of comedy, I have a few words about George Carlin. I always thought of Carlin as more of a town crier than a comedian. I would never call him the best comedian to live, but he may just have been the most important. He combined intelligence, comedy and social commentary beautifully; setting the groundwork for some of my favorite comedians today. It was sad to see him go because he left such a big hole in the comedic landscape. Bill Maher, David Cross and others have traces of Carlin DNA in their routines, but none of them can come off as legitimately angry and unapologetic as Carlin. He also wasn’t afraid to diversify his act from time to time….check out this opening from the ironically titled special “Life is Worth Loosing”

see you next time Cowboy...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Radiohead doesn’t make bad albums, EA doesn’t make bad video games and Pixar doesn’t make bad movies. WALL-E strongly cements that last statement. I’m a sucker for animation, haven never broken the trance I entered as a child. To me, this must be the ultimate outlet for the imagination. Anything you can imagine you can illustrate.

WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth class) imagines a world hundreds of years into the future where man has left earth in ruins. Humans no longer have to exert any energy as robots and computers do all the work for the species; as they fly around space aimlessly for what could be for all eternity. Earth has become uninhabitable, largely due to mass consumption and poor treatment of the environment. Trash stacks up as high as skyscrapers and someone left one sole robot operational. WALL-E spends most his day collecting trash and stacking it into tall structures. Though the machine shows a keen human side as he collects items of interest. His curiosity is coupled by another human trait…loneliness. This is until another, far more advanced robot lands on earth in search of vegetation. WALL-E falls in love with EVE, but not so much with her space age weaponry. The major conflict involves WALL-E finding companionship, while the humans try to reestablish a settlement on earth.

Dialogue, we don’t need no stinking dialogue! At least for about the first 45 minutes or so. WALL-E is highly reminiscent of silent comedies of an age long passed but still admirable. The robots communicate through action and short broken English. There is a certain Charlie Chaplinesque feel to this movie that works fantastically. The character design is the usual from the crew at Pixar, the robots are clean and cute, and the humans are oddly proportioned. This time around however the humans sedentary lifestyle has evolved their bodies beyond the need for as many bones as you or I carry. This makes the humans look more like giant jellybeans than men or women. I used to dread computer animation, but I’ve come to my senses on this topic. I’ve never seen animation look so clean, crisp and true to form. The storyline is simple enough for children to follow, but engaging to the point where adults will find themselves being jerked by the movies twist and turns.

Overall, WALL-E is the clear front-runner for movie of the year (out of the movies I’ve seen). A deeply entertaining commentary about how a little care and compassion can go a long way in every walk of life. It’s a typical Pixar movie, but that really only means you won’t be disappointed. I’m still geeked to see The Dark Knight and The X-Files movie, but WALL-E was a nice surprise for a summer at the box office in desperate need of a few more heavy hitters.

Furthermore WALL-E has made me change my top five animated films of all time. Here is the new list.

5. The Triplets of Belleville

What other movie enlists an elderly woman and her dog as the hero in search of her son?


3. Princess Mononoke

In the words of the fantasy metal band 3 inches of Blood: "When every structure falls you will know that the forest is king!"

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Did anybody actually hear Tim Burton fall off?

1. The Iron Giant

Warning for my future wife: Our son's name will be Hogarth...unless you actually prefer Iron Giant.

Honorable mentions: The Lion King, Transformers and Ninja Scroll