Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas songs

well today's Christmas and I thought I'd celebrate it the same way I celebrate every day... with some great music!

In no particular order, here's seven of my favorite Christmas songs

"Making Christmas" -Nightmare before Christmas

Nightmare before Christmas was one of my favorite movies when I was younger, and this song is the perfect background music for wrapping presents and setting up the tree.

"Christmas In Hollis" -Run DMC

This song used to always be on rap city during the holidays. Whenever I hear it, it reminds me of being in middle school and waiting for winter break to come.

"You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" -How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This is another classic from a great Christmas movie. I had actually forgotten about this song until several weeks ago when I heard it on the bus to my relay exchange zone in the Tuscon Marathon. Anyway, it's great Christmas song.

"The Mistletoe Jam (Everybody Kiss Somebody)"
-Luther Vandross

My mom used to play this song every Christmas and if the song is good enough for her to play every year, it's certainly good enough to be on this list. Also, it's Luther Vandross so you know it's legit! RIP, Luther.

"Santa Clause Goes Straight To The Ghetto" -Snoop Dogg

Even though this can never touch the original James Brown version, I couldn't resist putting another mainstay of the Rap City holiday lineup on my list. That being said, I'm still not sure that I agree with everything on Snoop's wish list... the '64 Chevrolet would be nice though.

"Christmas Wrapping" -The Waitresses

This is a little different from the other songs, but I feel like it gives a realistic description of how I feel about Christmas sometimes... I just want to take a break.

"This Christmas" -Donny Hathaway

This is a classic (I know... that line is probably getting old by now)... not much else to say.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gran Torino

I just finished watching Gran Torino (I know... I'm a little late) and I would have to say that I am very underwhelmed. Perhaps my expectations were undeservedly high (It got four stars, I heard good things from other people who saw it and I recently re-watched The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), but I would have given the film a less than spectacular review regardless of the hype. Overall, I feel that Gran Torino is a film that set lofty goals for itself and then failed to meet these standards. While I could nitpick about stuff for days, what bugged me the most was the crappy dialogue, the sub par acting and the unbelievable storyline. (I know those are pretty sucky names for a categories, but Gran Torino was a pretty sucky movie so I guess they fit).

In terms of dialogue, I feel like this movie really abused it's 'R' rating. the fact that there are no restrictions on the language that's used doesn't justify making every single word in the script offensive. This movie reminded me of a clown car, but instead of trying to stuff men with wigs and makeup inside of a Volkswagen, the writers attempted to fit the maximum amount of racial slurs and epithets into a two hour window. While I understand the fact that Clint Eastwood's character is a stubborn, prejudiced old man, it seems a little ridiculous that every other word he says is an insult. I thought people were supposed to be friendly and wise when they got old, but it seems like time has only turned Walter Kowalski into a potty-mouthed prick.

Even if the dialogue in Gran Torino had been halfway decent (I mean that in terms of both quality and content), it probably wouldn't have helped much because the horrible acting would have masked any flashes of brilliance from the writers. Apart from Clint Eastwood, who was pretty convincing as a scowling old bastard (I think he had the same angry scowl for at least 90% of the movie. I wonder if he made that face when he was little and it just stayed that way), most of the cast members seemed to half-heartedly stumble through their lines. What's even worse is that the actors with the most screen time were probably the least talented people in the cast (actually, it's not fair to say that they're not talented... maybe they'll get better with age). I would describe the performance the boy who plays Thao as a combination of Ben Stein (Bueller, Bueller) and a shy robot. I'm pretty sure a tired fourth grader sightreading lines off a teleprompter could have delivered the lines with more passion and eloquence than he did. Anyway, it kind of ruins the movie when the actors aren't good at their jobs.

Apart from the writing and acting, the thing that annoyed me the most Gran Torino was the riddiculous plot. I don't know if aging action heroes are a new fad or something, but Walter Kowalski's brand of geriatric justice seems a little far fetched to me. I just find it a kind of hard to believe that making finger signs, barking orders and grimacing would really strike fear into the hearts of the local gang members (I think violent criminals start to lose respect for you when you have as many wrinkles on your neck as you do on your forehead). Even the parts where he actually shows shows his real guns are less than impressive when you actually think about them. In one of the scenes, it shows Thao and Sue's cousin with some kind of machine gun thing. I'm sure that he or one of his homies could have unloaded half a clip before Walt's old arthritic fingers even grasped the handle of his gun. The odds are definately against our aging hero in these circumstances. You can say that I'm over-analyzing this or that I'm not getting the big picture, but I'm just not buying the idea that an ornery old man can intimidate gang members with cheesy tactics, befriend teenagers with racial slurs and somehow become a beloved martyr.

Thanks for reading this excessively long movie review. I hope that you were able to gain something from reading that other than the knowledge that I have some pent up frustration and a lot of free time. Honestly, I think you should take my reviews with a grain of salt. this was just my opinion and the only way to really know if Gran Torino is any good is to see it for yourself. Anyway, happy Holidays, folks!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Song of the Moment: "Hybrid Moments" -The Misfits

This song introduced me to the Misfits, and after hearing it, I was hooked. I love how they were able to combine the subject matter of old horror movies, the simple, fast-paced riffs of punk rock and strong, operatic vocals to make great music. Although the band continues to perform and put out new material, I was never a big fan of their work after Danzig left... It's just not the same.

Thing that I'm currently anticipating: I guess I'm pretty excited for tomorrow. I get done with classes pretty early on Fridays, and I was planning on going to Tempe Marketplace to look for some dress clothes and then watching the women's basketball game at six followed by the Winter fancy dance thing at seven... sounds like a good day.

Doodle/image of the day:
Math class gets pretty boring sometimes... and I was listening to The Prodigy before class... yep.

Random Thoughts: Today, my the dorms put on a "Platform 9 3/4 Block Party" in the dining hall. I know I might be a little bit biased because I'm not a huge fan of Harry Potter (I read the first four or five books and then I kind of lost interest. Now, it kind of annoys me because people reference the series all the time and I rarely know what they're talking about), but I thought it was kind of stupid. First of all, a block party is supposed to be outside on a city block... not in a dining hall that is nowhere close to a street. Also, why would you make the party platform 9 3/4 themed? the dining hall has no connection to a train station. Why not just make it Hogwarts themed?

I'm sorry that rant was so long... I just had to get that all out of my system

Also, this might sound snobbish, but if you think the Barrett dining hall looks like the Great Hall in Harry Potter, you should see the Cranbrook dining hall... It kind of pwns Barrett in terms of Hogwartsness.

Today, I totally failed at conversation. I was in the elevator with a girl today and, after we finished the usual "how's it going?" greeting, she remarked that it was cold outside. In response, all I could muster was an unintelligible mumble of "cold... no good". I repeated this a couple times until she could understand me... and then the elevator was awkwardly silent until she got off on her floor.

I just ate a whole bag of LifeSavers Gummies (wild berries flavor). On the nutrition facts, it says that there's five servings per container. I probably shouldn't have done that.

Perhaps I'll go into more detail about this later, but I'm not sure what I should wear to this fancy shmancy party tomorrow night. I have a suit, but I don't really like it (it's not very fitted, and it makes my body look very large in comparrison to my height and the size of my head). Also, if I want to wear my suit, I need another tie (my black skinny tie doesn't look good with the suit). On the other hand, I could wear my plaid pants... but I need a tie for that as well... and I'll either look completely ridiculous, underdressed or like someone who just stepped out of the 1960's.