Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Porkchopolis Now, Redux

Much to my initial delight and eventual horror Josh Kogan has resurrected the cartoons from Bullseyeart.com in a new site, www.magicbutter.com.  So once again, after about four years, you can access Porkchops, Miss Muffy and the Muff Mob, Rat Chicken, Internet the Animated Series, etc.  The only problem is, he’s charging $4.99 a month for it, which is perhaps retarded, perhaps not.  Obvy almost every ironic post-college hipster can afford five bucks a month, and clearly I waste way more than $5 a month on, say, inedible takeout, gum, etc., but there’s a huge mental block to spending this kind of money on a site subscription.  He promises two new cartoons a month, but again, it stings that we now must pay for what used to be free.  How sharper than a serpent’s tooth!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Question of Astonishingly Small Import

So I was flipping through the NYT Sunday magazine and I came across a two-page Banana Republic ad – it’s one of these teaser things that leads to a website done in the style pioneered by BMW if I’m not mistaken. Its ostensible hook is that a beautiful girl has lost a mitten and will end up knocking relatively inexpensive suede boots (made in Macau) with the scruffy gentleman who finds it. The mitten, by the way, is actually a GLOVE, advertising copywriters, since it has FINGERS.
Anyway, the ad is kind of interesting but what I am actually posting about is that the female protagonist appears to be Jenny Mollen, Angel’s werewolf girlfriend from season five. I searched the internets but did not get confirmation.
It's this link for those who are interested.

Monday, November 14, 2005

"It Look Distinctly Ordinary and Chair-Like."

Well, what a brace of episodes. Last Sunday I was traveling so I got to see the previous two weeks of Rome back-to-back.

As everyone knows, the best part of a Roman triumph was the fact that in the general’s chariot rode a figure representing THE FUTURE, who stands behind the general jabbing him in the small of the back and whining. The Romans conceived of the future as springing up behind people and surprising them – in Roman thought, you travel through time facing backwards, able to see the past spread out before you but blind to the future. This makes our metaphors and metonyms for time seem kind of stupid, huh?

Anyway, Professor von Future does not appear in this episode, and also the production budget severely constrains the triumph itself. Caesar’s spectacle is intimate rather than earthshattering – it should be like nine Rose Bowls happening during Mardi Gras while President Bush orders bible-addled shock troops to fire nuclear warheads and the longhairs; instead, it is more like two Shar Peis fighting in a wet box.

Oh, man, Vorenus! What are we going to do with you? Also, Pullo kills like nine guys without even getting up or opening his eyes. Until you have seen a dude get SO MAD about the 13th that he impales another dude with a giant barbed skull-mace, YOU HAVE NOT LIVED! It was like all my Warhammer 40,000 fantasies come to life on the small screen. Plus, the non-gladiatiroal parts of the episode were amazing, and bravo to Octavian for trying to help Pullo.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Some Good Movies and also a Remark about Real Time

Well, one good movie is The Cooler, which is a delightfully lurid Vegas casino story. Like many movies about Vegas it leans pretty heavily on luck and gambling metaphors. This really doesn’t bother me since Las Vegas, like South Africa, seems to be a land without need of metaphor. William H. Macy gives a performance with no errors as Bernie, a man whose portion of ill luck is so generous that it literally overflows. Alec Baldwin, an apoplectically evil casino owner, employs Macy – he also pays off a cocktail waitress (the accurately-named Maria Bello) to seduce Macy to keep him onboard. Also, Burger from Sex and the City hangs around representing the casino’s new-school investors, who disapprove of some of Baldwin’s business practices (like breaking people’s shins with a specialized shin-breaking maul, and also kicking pregnant women). Until you’ve seen Alec Baldwin foaming at the mouth opposite William H. Macy’s characteristic reserve, and until you’ve seen Maria Bello doing pretty much whatever she likes, you haven’t seen this movie. Which is very good.

Another good movie is Dummy, which is not quite as serious as The Cooler, nor as entirely successful, but has many things going for it, such as being hella funny and featuring Adrian Brody. Adrian Brody plays a ventriloquist (and does all his own ventriloquism: piano playing, pickle-juice drinking, ventriloquism: he’s a triple threat!), Mila Jovovich plays a punk who calls herself Fangora (perfectly, even better than her role in Resident Evil), and Arrested Development’s Jessica Walter plays Adrian Brody’s mother. The plot is insubstantial but sweet, but the best scenes belong to Brody and Jovovich. Although you may doubt her acting credentials Jovovich proves that her range extends beyond shaving the side of her head and fighting the Umbrella corporation – she’s believable, compelling and subtle as an American punk. Dummy ultimately doesn’t hold together and the end is a little disappointing, but if you don’t expect The House of Mirth then you will be delighted. If you do expect The House of Mirth then you should probably just watch that, yo, although the Gillian Anderson version was basically incomprehensible to me.

Also, I’ve been watching Real Time with Bill Maher while writing this and Joe Scarborough just a) implied that waterboarding wasn’t really bad enough to be considered torture (what, pray, should we consider it? A schoolboy jape?) and b) screamed and yelled at the ex-president of Ireland when she implied that if the US wanted to set an example of freedom, it should let UN inspectors into to our Global Coercive Questioning Resort Centers.