Wednesday, December 31, 2008

November Round-Up

I'm going to have to rush this out if I want to post it before the New Year, so here goes...

Movies Seen:
Fourteen, with, shocker, none in a theater. None of them were very good. "Get Smart" was better than I thought it would be, as was "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" (shut up!). I got no enjoyment from "Paranoid Park," or "Fred Claus," (but that kind of goes without saying for the latter).

Books Read: Or make that "Book Read" as once again I only made it through one. And I am ashamed to say that single book was "Here's the Story," Maureen "Marcia Brady" McCormick's autobiography! Key take-away from that tale: She did a LOT of blow.

Fancy Dinners Out: One, once again at the poorly-named RNM. I was a little soused by the time our meal arrived, but I remember really, really liking the mac-n-cheese, and also enjoying some pate, and I usually hate pate.

Live Shows Seen:
None. Unless you count the 20 minutes I spent watching a choir sing some carols during the Huntington Park tree-lighting ceremony.

Shoes Bought:
None. Fears of impending job loss are to be blamed for this, as well as for the lack of dining-out. I'm happy to say I still have a job (For now. Knock on wood!) but the fear of spending is still kind of clinging to me. Except when it came to Christmas presents. But that's for next month's Round-Up.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just Because Something Isn't Good Doesn't Mean It's Bad

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Now pardon me as I go back to crying over the fact that Christmas is over and I have to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Holy Nighyot

Paul Shaffer did his annual impression of Cher singing "O Holy Night" on last night's Letterman. Here's a clip from 2006...



I'm dying to find a video clip of the actual performance to see if she actually does have her hands in a muff, but so far, I haven't been able to track it down. You can hear the song, though, so here it is! Have a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Love, Pizza, Meatballs

Tonight's episode of "Late Show with David Letterman" is his annual Christmas show, in which a pizza and a meatball are placed atop the Christmas tree, a football is tossed at it, and Darlene Love sings what is easily my favorite Christmas song "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"...I love tradition.

Here's a clip from 2006's episode.

Festivus Yes! Bagels No!

Today is Festivus, and if I had the time, I'd air my grievances. But I don't, because I have to go out and rain blows upon anyone who gets in my way during last-minute Christmas shopping. Just know that I have made a contribution in all your names to the Human Fund. You're welcome.

Also, if you'd like to watch the original "Seinfeld" episode it all started with, it's on at 7:30 tonight on channel two. A Festivus miracle!

Monday, December 22, 2008

No You May Not Have a Flexy the Pocket Monkey!

I can't say where this clip is from because if I do, it might get taken down. So I'll just say that this little bit was a favorite when I was kid, and for whatever reason, it was never included when the episode it was on aired in re-runs.

So here it is, after many, many years, my Christmas gift to you!


.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's the End of My Titles Stolen From Cole Porter's 'You're the Top!'

Alas, I've run out of lines from the song to use as titles (and you did know that's what I was doing, right?). I guess I'll have to think of real titles from now on. Bugger!

Anyhoo, yes, this week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog! Check it out. There aren't a lot of words, but there is some YouTubey goodness.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Go Tell It On the...*zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz*

I realize not everyone was as enraptured as I was by the Faith Hill "Little Drummer Boy" clip I posted a while back. So be it. But I don't think anyone can deny the power of this version of "Go Tell It On the Mountain."



[via Videogum]

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Does Sneezing Count as Slapstick?

Because usually the only thing that makes me crack up as much as this did is really stupid slapstick..


Bonus points to anyone who can name what the theme is music from.

Sugar Busters

This week's reality TV locals post is up on SFist!

It's "Survivor"-centric today. Stay tuned for the "Top Chef" portion.

Go, Go, Go, To Get, My, My, My, Glasses, Glasses, Glasses

Exciting news of the day: I have an optometrist appointment!

I sure wish Bobby Brown was coming along to help me pick out new glasses!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Turns To Snow In My "Crotch"?!

"The Year Without a Santa Claus," perhaps the greatest Rankin-Bass holiday special of all time, is on ABC Family tonight at 8pm.



The above is classic. But classic does not always (ever?) beget classic, as is apparent with the new sequel, "A Miser Brothers Christmas," which premieres on ABC Family on the 13th. It looks awful. I mean, REALLY awful. Just take a gander at this:



That's not just bad; it's offensive in its awfulness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Glitches

The Bobs made their decision today, and praises be, I still have a job. A lot of people I worked with don't, though, and all around today was one of the worst days I've ever had at a job.

I'm glad I still have a job, but the sheer ridiculousness of office politics and corporate life can either make you laugh, or cry. Today I did a little of both.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Who Doesn't Like Breakfast?!

This week's reality TV locals post has been up on SFist for a while, but I didn't have time till now to link to it.

And that's it because now it's time for bed!

Now All You Beyonces, and Lucy Van Pelts...

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" is on tonight at 8 PM on ABC!

Hey ya!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It's the Steppes of Russia!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

I'm off to deliver annual "Christmas stockings" to clients of PAWS in San Francisco. If you're looking for a good cause to donate to this holiday season, I suggest them. Just throwing it out there! You can read about what they do here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Turn Up the TV, No One Listening Will Suspect

Elvis Costello has a new show on the Sundance Channel called "Spectacle." Each week he'll interview a guest, and in the cases of the musically inclined, perform with them. This week is Elton John. It premieres at 9pm (and will be repeated on Thursday at 11pm). Here's a clip.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum

I'm not a Faith Hill fan, but this rendition of "Little Drummer Boy" is so good, it brings tears to my eyes, thanks in large part to the Morgan State University Choir that's backing her...

October Round-Up

It's kind of hard to remember October when Christmas is breathing down my neck, but I will give it a shot...

Movies Seen: Twelve, with none in a theater. (Although I did watch four Marilyn Monroe movies in a class that was held in a theater. But I'd seen all the movies before, and the teacher's inability to un-squash the DVD image on the big ass movie screen made the entire "movie going experience" almost unbearable. So I'm not counting those.) I think my fave was probably "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains," which is hadn't seen since I was a kid. I had no idea Ray Winstone played the hottie punk rocker in the movie. In fact, I had no idea Ray Winstone was once a hottie! If you've never seen it, I highly recommend a rental.

I saw a lot of bad movies in October, so the least favorite prize is a tie between "Chapter 27," the movie starring Jared Leto's horrible southern accent as Mark David Chapman, John Lennon's assassin; "The Happening," in which Mark Wahlberg spends most of the movie trying to think; and "Last House on the Left," which despite my being a die-hard horror fan as a youth, I had never actually seen. Now I now why. It is a exceedingly unpleasant movie watching experience. I understand its historical importance when it comes to the horror movie genre, but that doesn't mean it's any fun.

Books Read: Once again, I only finished one, while starting and abandoning about three...Well, technically that's not true, as I read several volumes of the comic book "Y: The Last Man," which didn't leave a lot of time for real books. So that one "real" book was "Snow Angels," which I got from the library on a whim after watching the movie version. It was about as good as the movie, which is to say pretty good, but not great.

Fancy Dinners Out: None. I think my fears about money and the economy started to curb my frivolous spending in October, as there also weren't any...

Live Shows Seen: Nor...

Shoes Bought: Alas.

It's Romance!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Wow. I can't believe the Thanksgiving weekend is basically over. Christmas will be here before I know it....I think I need a nap.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Guess I Was Just Too Blind To See

I can't believe I missed this. I sat through almost every minute of the two painful hours of the Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning, but I guess during the ten minutes I was washing my face and getting dressed, this happened.



There were at least 268 marching bands featured during the parade, and I chose this moment to leave the room. Epic FAIL.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tom Turkey Ran Away, But He Just Came Home!

There aren't very many Thanksgiving songs out there, so I'm going to go ahead and name "Turkey Lurkey Time" the one and only official Thanksgiving song. Even though it's actually about Christmas.

It's from the 1968 musical "Promises, Promises," which was written by Neil Simon, with music and lyrics by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and is actually based on the movie "The Apartment." I think it's due for a revival. There are other memorable songs in it (including "I'll Never Fall In Love Again") but "Turkey Lurkey Time" is easily my fave, both because it's pretty dumb, and because the musical number in the play has some INSANE choreography. (I'm glad to know I'm not the only person obsessed with the song, as Brock over at SFist has linked to it more than once. This guy also has a funny take on the number.)

So, in honor of Thanksgiving and mini dresses, I present you with three versions of the song...

First up is a performance from the 1968 Tonys. Video quality is for crap, but you can still experience the insanity and potential whiplash inducing movements of the choreography.



Next is a TV performance, but I have no idea where from. Seems to be about the same time as the above, though.



And last is from "Camp," which was a good little indie movie about a performing arts summer camp. (That's why the number kind of blends into other stage performances at the end of the song).



Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! And if you want to burn off some of those unwanted calories, I suggest you learn the Turkey Lurkey dance. You'll be slim by Christmas.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Peanut Butter and Spherical Olives

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist!

Come ooooonnnnn Thursday!

Elves...They're Just So Silly

I've mentioned David Sedaris's short story "Six To Eight Black Men" before, as it's one of my favorite things ever. (You can listen to it in three parts on YouTube.) I love it because it's hilarious, but also because my mother is Dutch, and she speaks of Sinterklaas and his helper "Zwarte Piet" (Black Pete) like it's no big deal.

American Christmas may be crass and overly commercialized, but at least it doesn't involve dressing our children in blackface, and forcing them to eat chocolate coins while singing Christmas songs about little boots and little stockings. To wit:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Broccoli!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

You guys, next week is Thanksgiving. Next week! How did that happen? Remember when you were a kid and once Thanksgiving came around all you could do was think about Christmas and wish the days would go by faster so it would just happen already? Well, my Christmas excitement remains, but it is now coupled with anxiety about how quickly the days are going by because before I know it it will be Christmas already.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just What ARE Those Extra Ingredients, Anyway?

Here's another hilarious vintage commercial that was featured on "The Bonnie Hunt Show" the other day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

30 Rocks

I'm thinking I should start watching "Sesame Street" again...In fact, why'd I ever stop?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something Every Guy Should Know

There's a brief piece on Jezebel about modern chivalry, (and some of it is pretty dirty, so beware), but there's one bit that I think every guy should know and practice: The bit about getting into a cab first.

Seriously, I know it SEEMS like the chivalrous act is to hold the door open, but it's not. Especially when the lady you're with is wearing a dress or a skirt. That just means she has to crawl in, try not to flash you as she does so, and then slide over and probably get her dress all scrunched and wrinkled in the process. And then she'll have to do the same thing when it's time to get out. Not fun.

So dudes. Get into the cab first. Always.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's Lady Astor!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog! Read it. READ IT!

I think the freakishly warm weather is on its way out, and good riddance, I say. I have drawers full of handmade scarves that need some wearing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Popotamus! Et Cocodrie!

Shockingly, the latest Internet star is not a cat with a bag on its head, but a little French girl dubbed "Amelie Jr." Her real name is Capucine, and her mother, Anne, clearly knew she had a star on her hands at a young age, as she has been documenting la petite gamine for quite a while on Vimeo.

Here's the video that's sweeping the nation. But warning: If you are a woman, it may cause spontaneous ovulation and the uncontrollable urge to marry a Frenchman and get pregnant tout de suite.



This is an earlier video in which Capucine and her mother have eaten too much candy, and fear the repercussions should Papa find out.



Mon Dieu. Il est juste trop mignon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Get It Off Me!....Get It On Me!!!

By now I'm sure you've seen Maru, the cat who likes to jump into boxes and other things. This is probably his most famous video...



But I think this one is even better....



Is there a name for this kind of pathology? And if so, can one request it from a cat breeder? Because I think it's a must have in any future cat adoption I may make.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's an Old Dutch Master!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

And it's a special all reality edition! But don't let that scare you away. There's actually some good stuff in there.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

...Yes, But Sum Change Not So Grate, Akshully

Thanks California, for totally harshing my high over Obama, with the news that Prop 8 is winning.

This is a pretty black-and-white issue for me. If you voted yes on 8, you are a small-minded bigot. Thanks for shattering any illusions I had about California being safe from the prejudiced views of the religious right and the just plain stupid. Because of them, we now get to have discrimination written into our state Constitution.

Bravo.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Can Haz Change?

Yeah. I'm happy.

And a word to Morrissey--because when do I not feel like sharing with Morrissey?--I think you'll either have to stop performing this song, or at least give it a bit of a re-write. W00T!

Ya Vote!

They had one computer ballot machine at my polling place tonight, but I steered clear of it. And for good reason.

And It's Not Just Because Barack Obama Sounds Like a Cool Star Wars Name

This morning as I walked towards my neighborhood polling place and saw the line snaking half-way up the block, I burst into tears. Not out of frustration that the line was so long that I'd have to wait until after work to cast my vote, but because the line was so long. I've voted in every election since I turned 18, and I have never, ever had to wait in line more than 15 minutes to do it. And while San Francisco isn't exactly apathetic when it comes to politics, it still gave me hope that these predictions of record turn-outs will prove true all across the country. I burst into tears because for the first time in 20 years I have genuine hope and excitement about the result of a presidential election. And I also bust into tears because it has been a long and frustrating presidential campaign, and I have been doing my best to keep my shit together and not freak out for most of it, and I finally just cracked.

But I will try my best to keep it together for the rest of the day and night.

I hope so, Barry. I really do.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's the Boats That Glide On the Sleepy Zuider Zee!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

I think I will savor that extra hour of sleep for the rest of the day and go back to bed. Yeah. That makes sense.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Well...See Ya Later

Bonnie Hunt showed this commercial on her show yesterday, and it's a hoot.



*Sigh.* I'm gonna miss "Mad Men."

Friday, October 31, 2008

September Round-Up

September kind of went by in a flash. Not sure why. So did October, actually, and since this Round-up is really late, I'm going to have to keep it brief.

Movies Seen: Thirteen, with one in a theater. The one in a theater was "Burn After Reading," and I was pretty disappointed in it. Of course, more than once I've not liked a Coen Brothers movie on initial viewing, only to love it after seeing it again ("The Big Lebowski" and "O Brother Where Art Thou?" come immediately to mind), so my opinion of this might change if I ever see it again. And the only reason I would want to see it again is for the scenes with J.K. Simmons, as those scenes were easily the funniest and most enjoyable in a movie that's really kind of...depressing. It's also well-trod subject matter for the Coens--not just in a thematic sense, but in terms of plot--and I'd really like to see them move on from this in movies ahead.

As for the DVDs viewed, I really liked "Leatherheads" a lot, and really didn't like "Speed Racer."

Books Read: A measly one. Not sure why. I did start several, but couldn't seem to finish them. I also started to re-read "Lolita," which I tend to do every few years. It's still my favorite book, but I decided to kind of savor it this time, and am reading just a few chapters every month. As for the one book I did finish, it was "Everybody Into the Pool" by Beth Lisick, and it was very funny. The end.

Fancy Dinners Out: Really only one, at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel. Meeeeaaaaatttt!

Live Shows Seen: None, but as I mentioned, I did go to Disneyland, and that's always a show.

Shoes Bought: Shockingly, I think it's none!

Happy Happy Halloween!

Whatever you do, do NOT WATCH THIS while wearing a mask from the Silver Shamrock company.

Seriously.

And even if you aren't wearing a mask, it's likely to at least drive you crazy...

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 31

Alas, the end has come to this maniacal countdown, and let me just say it has been a blast. I can't wait for next year!

Once again, Tuner Classic Movies is the place to be for creepy TV today, all day and all night. You can see the complete schedule here. I mentioned two faves in this week's Tube Tops, but here's one more: "The Devil Bat" starring Bela Lugosi, which airs at 10am. I recommend it mainly because it's got many moments of unintentional hilarity, none of which are featured on YouTube. Alas...

However, the whole movie is! Enjoy! And have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 30

"Dead of Night" is a 1945 horror movie from Britain about a group of people who gather at a country house and tell stories of weird events in their lives. There's a wrapping story about the guy who gathers all the people together and why, but the real point of the movie is to cram four horror stories into one. The best of the bunch stars Michael Redgrave as a ventriloquist and his demonic dummy. I could be wrong, but I think it was one of the first films to feature the whole possessed dummy thing, and the movie "Magic" owes a hell of lot to it...You can watch the whole movie at 5:00pm on TCM, or you can watch the Dummy bit below!





Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 29

"Blacula" is airing tonight on another one of those channels I didn't know I got but apparently do: TVOne, which is number 483 on Comcast Digital cable. So, yeah, "Blacula." If you combined "Shaft" with "Dracula," well, you wouldn't get "Blacula," but I think that's the effect they were hoping for.

Catch it at 10:00pm.



And speaking of "Dracula" derivatives, will I ever get to see the legendary "Deafula"?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 28

I love "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" because it's perfect, but also because it marks the beginning of a season of holiday-themed animated specials, and I really love that.

Here's the first eight minutes of the special. Watch the rest tonight at 8:00pm on ABC.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Clogged

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist!

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 27

I often ponder what makes a movie scary, usually after watching a horror movie that did nothing but bore me, or gross me out. I've said before that one movie that totally spooked me, and had me sleeping with the lights on afterward, was "The Blair Witch Project." A lot of people would disagree with me on that, and can certainly see their point. What's so scary about a bunch of annoying slackers getting lost in the woods and yelling at each other? I think, for me, it was the totally low-budget filmmaking that elevated the scare factor for me. There was nothing Hollywood about the movie; no gloss. That removed a barrier between the movie and me, and just made everything seem so...present.

I feel the same way about the original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." It is different from "Blair Witch" as it is telling its horror story in a standard narrative way; it's not the product of supposed found footage. But because the film was made on such a low budget, it has that missing Hollywood element again, that makes everything on screen seem scuzzy, and cheap, and...real. So, I'll put it up on the list of movies that genuinely scared me, although it's lost its scariness after several viewings. "Blair Witch," on the other hand, still has me dreading looking into dark corners after I watch it.

Check out the original "Texas Chainsaw" on IFC 6pm and 10pm.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's a Berlin Ballad!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Jon Hamm was pretty good on SNL last night--who knew he could whip out an awesome James Mason impersonation? Of course my favorite bits were the "Mad Men" take-offs, but especially the second one in the show...



And don't forget, the season finale of "Mad Men" is tonight at ten on AMC!

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 26

Rumor has it, George Clooney and Naomi Watts are set to star in a remake of the "The Birds," a project I had hoped was shelved since I hadn't heard about it for quite some time. I am hoping these are, indeed, merely rumors, as I have a lot of faith in George Clooney, and wouldn't think a remake of a Hitchcock film would be something he'd jump at. We shall see.

You can watch the original at 11:00am on TCM and ponder just what the hell Hollywood is thinking.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 25

I wish I had time to say more about "Peeping Tom," but I've got a class this weekend that requires I watch about 10 hours of movies, and if I don't get to bed soon, I may sleep through the whole thing. So, just know that the movie is brilliant, quite twisted, and pretty much ruined director Michael Powell's career. Watch it on TCM at 7:00pm.

Friday, October 24, 2008

True

I never thought I'd want to hear the word "Waaasuuuuup" again as long as I lived. I was wrong.

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 24

The 1976 version of "King Kong," which you can see on AMC at 7:30am, didn't have me weeping uncontrollably at the end like Peter Jackson's version did, and it doesn't have the innovation and wonder the first version did, but it does include a scene where King Kong rips a gigantic snake into two bloody pieces, and that moment, which I witnessed as a six year old in a movie theater, scarred me for life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Attack of the Halloween Countdown

I've been very lax in listing all the other amazing blogs that have been doing Halloween countdowns of their own, and for that I am truly sorry. But there's still a week to go, which is plenty of time to take a look at every damn one of them!

Azathoth's Abode on the Plateau of Leng: The Dungeon
All Eyes and Ears
Armagideon Time
The Armchair Chef
Art by Bubba Shelby
Branded in the 80s
Cavalcade of Awesome
Comic Coverage
Cool-Mo-Dee
Creepy Los Angeles
Dave Lowe Design!
Digital Meltd0wn Music Blogroll
Digital Meltd0wn
Diversions of the Groovy Kind
Distinctly Jamaican Sounds
Dr. K's 100-Page Super Spectacular
Dr. Squid's Smorgasbord of Terror!
Drunken Severed Head
Frankensteinia
Franklin Mint Blog
Geek Orthodox
Geektarded
Gothtober
Halloween Addict
Halloween in the Time of Cholera
The Hallowe'en Tree
Harvey's Midnight Hour
The Holiday Queen
Houses of Wax
The Horrors of it All
Horror Host Graveyard
Idle Minds Inc.
I-Mockery
John Rozum.com
Magic Carpet Burn
Mark Harvey's World
Mike Segretto
Monsters and More
Monster Crazy
Monster Memories
Monster Rally
Monsterama
Monsters and More
Moongem Comics
Mostly Ghostly
Mother Firefly's Faster Pussycats
Music From the Monster Movies 1950-69
Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anywhere Else
Neato Coolville
Needcoffee
Negative Pleasure
Nostalgia Factory
A Nostalgic Halloween
Oh the Horror
Orange and Black
Para Abnormal
Plaid Stallions
Plastic Pumpkins
Pumpkin Hollow
Pumpkinrot
Random Acts of Geekery
The Retropolitan
Sailormoms
The Sexy Armpit
Skull a Day
Sweet Skulls
13 Visions
Tales to Astonish
Tikiranch Hallows
Trixie's Treats
Universal Horror Sounds
Valhella
Vinnie Ratolle's Records
Weird Hollow
Wonderful Wonderblog
X Entertainment

Baby Mama

The season premiere of "30 Rock" isn't until next Thursday, but Hulu has posted it online today!

You can watch it below, or go over there to see a higher res version.

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 23

"Squirm," the 1976 film about killer worms and embarrassing Southern stereotypes, is on Movieplex at 12:50pm today. It's a genuinely bad movie and as such, was featured on an episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." It's probably more enjoyable to watch it that way, so here you go...(The movie follows a short, and starts at about the 3:36 mark.)



And here are parts three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 22

Alas, it's not in 3D, but I think "Gorilla at Large" can still be enjoyed in all its 2D glory. For such a crappy movie--it's about a possibly murderous gorilla at a circus, after all--it had a pretty good cast, including Anne Bancroft, Raymond Burr, and Lee J. Cobb.

Catch it at 6:00am on AMC.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 21

Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes" isn't exactly scary, but it does contain some patented Hitchcock supsense. It's also a weird little movie because it really feels like two movies in one. The first half is quite comedic, and once the lady vanishes, it turns into a whodunnit. It's on at 3:30am on Retroplex, but also seems to be available in its entirety--albeit broken up--on YouTube. Here are the first eight minutes or so.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Capital L, Small a..

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist.

I think I have a cold. Or allergies. Or both. Whatever it is, I am feeling phlegmy, sneezy, and all those other fantastic things. Is it Friday yet?

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 20

Dudes. "Mansquito"!



Yeah, the trailer says "Mosquito Man," but don't be fooled. It will always be(e) "Mansquito" to me. 1pm on the Sci-Fi channel.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's a Waldorf Salad!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

The weather outside is gloomy...and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 19

"Ghost Story," which is airing on Retroplex at 9:40pm, isn't a particularly good horror movie, but I'm listing it here as an excuse to recommend the book it was based on on, "Ghost Story" by Peter Straub, which is easily one of the best horror novels of the past 40 years. It's a book I always get a hankering to revisit come Halloween, but even more so when winter hits; if only San Francisco had blizzards that forced us to stay indoors with nothing but a good novel to entertain us. Alas, a thick fog is the best we can hope for on that front.

I'm not sure a good movie can be made from the book, as its structure, complete with ghost stories within the Ghost Story, a myriad of small town characters, and flashbacks within flashbacks, is more suited to the printed page. That said, the movie has its moments. Alice Krige is quite good as the ghostly Alma Mobley, and seeing all those screen legends, including Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, and John Houseman acting together is a kick. But the movie ultimately relies too much on gross out effects, and the ending is absolutely preposterous.

Watch the trailer, then read the book.

Gnome Around the World

Yay! The creepy Argentinian gnome is back! Just in time for Halloween!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 18

Despite my love for Jon Hamm, I am not at all pleased about the upcoming remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still." First, I think he would have made a much better Klaatu than Keeanu Reeves. In fact, I kinda wish Keanu Reeves was playing Gort. In the full on metal suit. Silently. And speaking of Gort, that brings me to my second misgiving. Gort is one of the coolest robots ever, and any attempts to update him will only result in massive Fail.

So just watch the original movie at 1:30pm on AMC instead.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Fall of TV: Crusoe

I think "Crusoe" is the last premiere of a new fall TV show, or at least the last one I have any interest in. It is based, of course, on "Robinson Crusoe," and has not been updated, which is to say it takes place back then and not now. I'm sure the story will be changed a lot, but the reason I am kind of looking forward to this is I don't think it's like anything else on network TV right now. It doesn't involve any kind of police procedures, it isn't set in a hospital, and there are no lawyers or rich teenagers to be seen. One could argue the deserted island setting resembles both "Lost" and "Survivor," so I suppose it's not THAT original, but the chances of seeing a monkey on "Crusoe" are pretty high, so I'm watching it. The two-hour premiere starts at 8pm on NBC.

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 17

Speaking of dated horror movies, I'm happy to say "The Stepford Wives" really does seem kind of dated in this day and age, so much so that the attempt at a remake failed miserably. Sure, there were shouts of "iron my shirts!" when Hilary Clinton was on the campaign trail, but I don't think mindless house-cleaning robots would be any husband's preference nowadays.

Right? RIGHT?!

Of course, there's no doubt Sarah Palin is a the modern, 2.0 version of Stepford Wife. A prototype, though. They've still got to work out some of the kinks.

Watch the original movie at 7:30pm on TCM.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is That Dave Coulier?

Literal "Take On Me" was pretty good, but I think this one is even better...

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 16

Tobe Hooper got a lot of warranted accolades for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," but not many people know he followed that up with another horror movie that was basically a bad rip-off of himself! "Eaten Alive" takes place in a southern bayou and tells the tale of an inn-keeper who likes to feed his guests to his alligator. Or chop them up with a scythe, whichever's easiest. "Chainsaw"'s Marilyn Burns returns and joins a cast that includes Robert Englund, Carloyn Jones, and Mel Ferrer. It's on IFC at 8pm and 1am.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 15

I haven't seen David Cronenberg's "Videodrome" since the 80s, so I have no idea if it holds up well or not. I do know this trailer doesn't hold up well. At all.



Watch the movie on Retroplex at 10:15pm.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 14

"Inside Haunted Hollywood" on Fine Living looks at some of the homes seen in horror flicks, including "The Amityville Horror" and "The Exorcist."

Looks pretty cheesy, but it could still be fun. It's on at 7 and 10pm.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What is "The Most Awesome Show On TV"?

For some reason "Jeopardy!" is going to have a category devoted to "Mad Men" on Friday's episode. Until then, you can play an entire online version of the game themed after "Mad Men." It has nothing to do with the show, instead focusing on the era the show takes place in. I played and won over 30,000 fake dollars!

Pretty Ugly

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist!

Does anyone get Columbus Day off anymore? And if not, why does it still exist?

The Fall of TV: My Own Worst Enemy

Chalk up "My Own Worst Enemy" as another one of those shows I had hopes for that were dashed about halfway through the pilot. The plot is as such: Christian Slater plays Henry, your average suburban dad. He's also Edward, a superspy that works for some secret spy organization that only exists on TV. In fact, I think this agency is located in the same building as SD-6 from "Alias." At the beginning of the pilot, Edward the spy is aware for his other life as Henry the husband, but Henry is not aware of Edward, since the purpose of having a secret identity is that it remains secret. Or something. But that conceit is shattered pretty quickly, which seems to make the whole set-up of the series completely moot. Now they both know about the other. How is that advantageous to anybody?

Monday's on NBC had potential, but "Chuck" (which is a lot like "My Own Worst Enemy" with the average Joe as spy scenario) is completely boring me, "Heroes" is laughably bad, and now this. Not that I'm complaining. There's enough other crappy TV on for me to watch.

Here's an early trailer for the show which features a totally different actress as Henry's wife (she's now played by Madchen Amick). It also plays up the "neither one knows about the other" angle, which isn't true by the end of the pilot, and is only half true at the beginning.

Also, do you think Christian Slater wears a rug?

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 13

I rewatched "Blood for Dracula," AKA "Andy Warhol's Dracula" recently and was kind of shocked by how boring and depressing it it. Yeah, you get to see a lot of Joe Dallesandro's naked butt, and that's always a good thing, but there's also a lot of moments of his bad acting that's not such a great thing. The Count's futile search for "wirgins" is amusing, but there's also a lot of moments of Udo Kier puking up tainted blood, and looking so sickly and gross that I wavered between feeling sorry for the guy, and just wishing someone would put him out of his misery. I don't think I'm giving anything away in saying that eventually someone does, and that's easily the funniest moment in the entire movie. Watch it at 6:45pm on Flix.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's the Moon Over Mae West's Shoulder!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Well, it's been up for a while. I, however, have not been. And, in fact, I think I might crawl back into bed any minute now. Ahhh, Sundays!

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 12

After I saw "The Host," the Korean monster movie, I put one of director Bong Joon-ho's other films, "Memories of Murder," in my Netflix queue, where it sat for two years. But now it's going to be on TV, and I can record it, and let it sit on my TiVo for years!

The movie is based on a true story about the search for Korea's first known serial killer. Watch it on the Sundance Channel at 3:30am.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 11

"If you can't stand the sight of flesh being stripped from a human body, please leave the room."

But if you can stand it, then watch "The Flesh Eaters" at 4:15am on AMC.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 10

I'm not sure why, but as a twelve-year-old, I had a snooty disdain for the movie "The Beast Within," even though I had never actually seen it. Perhaps I had read some bad reviews that mentioned it contained a graphic rape scene. Or maybe I just wrote it off as a cheap "An American Werewolf in London" rip-off. Whatever the case may be, I've still never seen the movie, which is about a teenager who turns into a murderous monster. Perhaps I'll finally watch it tonight at 9:00pm on IFC.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Fall of TV: Kath & Kim and Life On Mars

It's been a while since my last look at a new Fall TV premiere, but that's because there hasn't been anything the least bit interesting to mention, really. But tonight we've got two shows with a bit of buzz.

First up is "Kath & Kim," a remake of an Australian sitcom of the same name. It stars Molly Shannon and Selma Blair as a dysfunctional mother and daughter who are living together after the daughter leaves her husband. Now, I had hopes for this show, but I watched the pilot and I was sorely disappointed. Despite the presence of both Molly Shannon and John Michael Higgins, it managed to be almost completely devoid of laughs. I think I muttered a few "hehs," but that was about it. Some sitcoms get off to rocky starts and pick up in later episodes (some felt "30 Rock"'s weakest episode of its first season was its pilot--though I don't agree with that) but I don't think that's the case here. Judge for yourself. It's on at 8:30 on NBC.



The second premiere is "Life on Mars," another remake, this time out of Britain. I watched the original series on BBC America, and liked the first couple of episodes a lot. For those who don't know, the premise is a police detective gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973 where he's a still a police detective, but without any of the modern day conveniences, including basic civility, he was used to in the present day. Whether he's traveled through time, or is in a coma, or it's all something else, is the central mystery of the show. But in the meantime, he still has to solve crimes, some of which prove to involve people from his "real" life.

The show eventually lost me because I didn't really care about the day-to-day crimes--in that sense, it was just another damned police procedural--and seeing British life circa 1973 didn't bring up any kind of nostalgia factor for me. That's where I hope this version will fare better. I really liked this summer's "Swingtown," and a lot of that had to do with its suburban 1970s America setting. In this new "Life on Mars," the setting is 1970s New York, and 1970s thespian Harvey Keitel plays a central role. Right there it's got two things going for it. If it can just manage to not seem like another damned police procedural, then it could be a must see for the rest of the season...

It premieres at 10PM on ABC.

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 9

If you know nothing about the David Cronenberg movie "Scanners," you still probably know about this scene...



Watch the whole movie at 9:00pm on IFC.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 8

There's not much in the way of scary on the TV today, save for a 2006 special on the Travel Channel called "America's Scariest Halloween Attractions." You can watch that at 5pm and 9pm.

But that reminds me, the "Gyro's Fear Factory" is back this year, but this time it looks like their only attraction will be in Concord. And no, there most likely won't be a haunted gyros cart on the premises.

The last time I went was when they were in San Francisco a few years ago, in an old pier, although I had also gone several times when it was on the Peninsula, most memorably in a huge old abandoned shopping mall. I understand there are people who don't dig this sort of thing, but I've always had a blast. Sure, it's just costume-clad teenagers jumping out at you from the darkness and screaming, but how often do you get to walk through a dark maze fully of "scary" things and end up shouting in terror, and then doubling over with laughter? It's the laughing that's the best part, and I think a lot of people who avoid these haunted attractions do so because they don't want to look foolish as they're screaming like little girls. But the fact is, everyone there is gonna look just as silly, so just enjoy the cheesy terror.

Here's a clip of some of the Gyro's crew freaking out a Sacramento news team.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 7

Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know if your ripped off the fronts off houses you'd find swine?

Hitchcock knew.

"Shadow of a Doubt" airs at 11:00am on TCM

Monday, October 06, 2008

French = Socially Awkward

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist!

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 6

There's a lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. And one movie that is well aware of it, is "Repo-Man." Watch it at 4:25pm on Indieplex.

Three words: Plate. O'. Shrimp.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It's the Dam at Boulder!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Last night's "Saturday Night Live" was filled with some pretty bad skits, and the one below can probably be listed with them. But I thought it was hilarious. If you know me, it's not hard to figure out why I love it.

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 5

Neil Jordan's "The Company of Wolves" made a big impression on me when I saw it as a teen. I imagine my age had a lot to do with the impression it had on me, as the whole movie is a very Freudian and fairytale-filled allegory about burgeoning female sexuality, complete with red hoods, wolves, and men whose eyebrows meet...As you can tell, it's kind of a hard movie for me to describe, so read the linked Wikipedia article if you want more details. And even if you don't go for the film's heavy use of potentially pretentious symbolism, it's still entertaining, with beautiful sets and creepiness galore. It airs at 9:35pm on Flix.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 4

"Violent Midnight" AKA "Psychomania," from the creators of "The Horror of Party Beach," is a thriller about a painter with a penchant for nude portraits, who is the prime suspect in a series of slayings...catch it at 3:30am on AMC. Here's a clip.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 3

I'm pretty sure 1982's "Madman" is the kind of film Siskel and Ebert were talking about hating in yesterday's clip. I just find it kind of amusing because it is so packed with slasher movie cliches: faceless killer, stupid kids at an abandoned summer camp, etc. etc.

It's on the Independent Film Channel in about 30 minutes. I doubt anyone is going to rush to their TVs to turn it on, so why not just watch the trailer instead...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

ALL OF THEM! Bingo!

Here's something to make tonight's debate a little less painful. Palin Bingo!

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 2

Of course, no Halloween should pass without a viewing of "Halloween," right? Since this showing is on the Independent Film Channel, I have high hopes that it will be shown in its original widescreen format. Catch it at 9:05pm tonight.

Here's a kind of interesting piece of nostalgia: a 1980 clip of Siskel and Ebert justifying their favorable review of the 1978 film...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 1

Last October I decided to attempt a kind of Halloween countdown, listing some kind of spooky, creepy or otherwise Halloweenie TV offering every day of the month. I thought I'd give that another go this year because I have to say, October is probably one of my favorite months. Not just because of Halloween, but because it means colder weather, and longer nights, and the coming of the end-of-the-year holidays that I love so much.

So, let's get this thing started! First up is a movie I've never heard of called "Nothing But the Night," the last film Christopher Lee's production company ever made. And it was never released theatrically in the U.S. Possibly because it's about killer children?

Here's a clip. The movie airs at 6:20am on the Encore Mystery Channel.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

August Round-Up

August. The end of summer. Kind of. Really, summer in San Francisco doesn't really START until the end of August, and kind of ends at the end of October. At least, that's how it was before this whole "global warming" thing took hold. But that has nothing to do with how I entertained myself in August, does it?

Movies Seen: Fourteen, with one in a theater. The best was "Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day." It's was just an all out fun little movie. Certainly nothing deep, but I was pleased through every minute of it.

The worst was probably the one I saw in a theater: "The X-Files: I Want to Believe." Chuck's reaction pretty much mirrors mine. I remain completely amazed that it ever got greenlit in the first place, because it is completely and utterly ridiculous as far as the plot is concerned, and while it might have been saved by some of the humor Duchovny and Anderson brought to their roles in the TV show, they weren't allowed to be anything but depressed and gloomy throughout the movie. I defy anyone to try and explain what the hell those Russians were doing on that farm without cracking themselves up over the sheer ludicrousness of it all. That said, I can't wait to watch it with some Rifftrax commentary!

Books Read: Four. "Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume" wasn't as fun as I'd hoped it would be.

"Eats, Shoots and Leaves" by Lynne Truss was as entertaining as a book about grammar can be, although since the author is British, I found it hard to take her opinions seriously. I mean, they leave commas outside of quotes, all by their lonesome, instead of tucked inside, safe and secure, as they should be! What do they know about grammar?!

"Life With My Sister Madonna" by Christopher Ciccone was un-put-downable, although really, really badly written. I mean, like, full of spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes, not to mention just plain choppy. Plus, every time he would recall a conversation he had with his sister, he'd insert her name into it. Did he really use her name every time he talked to her? "Madonna, I think your performance tonight was groundbreaking." Or, "I understand that you no longer want the sconces in your bathroom, Madonna, but you still owe me money for them!" I don't think so.

Lastly was "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostava, which took me forever to get through. At first I was engrossed. I imagine it's kind of like "The DaVinci Code" (although I've never read that) in that it's about academics investigating a historical figure, in this case Count Dracula. The conceit is that Dracula was a real vampire, and is still alive...er, undead. Which, being a Dracula fan, sucked (ha!) me in right away. Plus I kind of dig the notion of doing research the old fashioned way, via libraries and old letters and journals. That is to say, doing that. Reading about other people doing that, not so much.

But what really kicked me over the edge of tolerating the book into thinking it was completely redonkulous, was when (SPOILER ALERT!) Dracula is revealed to have kidnapped the professor that has gone missing because....he wants him to catalog his large collection of books. For all eternity!

I am so not kidding about that.

So, basically Dracula is just an evil head librarian. Iz not so scary akshully.

Fancy Dinners Out: One, at L'Ardoise, a little French bistro near the Castro. Good eats, but once again the place didn't have a full bar. You know how I feel about that.

Live Shows Seen: None. Again.

Shoes Bought: Four pairs. But two pairs were super cheap from Payless. This pair of green and white sandals were about seven bucks, and this cutie pair of candy striped peep toes were, like, free. I think it was buy one pair get one pair free week at Payless.

The other two were purchased at Loehmann's, so they were pretty cheap too. I don't know how often I'm going to wear these wedge heels, but they were adorned with sequins, so I couldn't resist. I DO know I've already worn these patent leather Mary Janes more than once already, and love them despite the blisters they've inflicted upon me.