Friday, December 31, 2010

November Round-Up - 2010

I am quite anxious to kiss this crappy year to the curb, and I will do just that in a few short hours. But that doesn't mean I can't take a few minutes to remember November, which, frankly, feels like it was just yesterday..

Movies Seen: Thirteen, with none in a theater. And frankly, none were that great. I suppose the most interesting was a double feature of "The Expendables" and "JCVD," although I came away thinking the former could have used some Jean-Claude Van Damme, and the latter could have used some Expendables....

The worst was probably "Four Christmases." Yeah, what was I expecting, right? I think its taking place in San Francisco was one of the main reasons I decided to check it out; that and the fact that I am a sucker for many Christmas movies. I never understand why TV shows and movies decide to set a movie in S.F. when there really is no reason to, especially when they aren't actually filming the crux of the production here. The movie's S.F. location is just laughable. Both of the characters' families are supposed to live in the "Bay Area" but both are filled with family members with Southern accents, which just doesn't make any sense. Also, they manage to visit four different family homes in a single afternoon, lord knows where exactly, although it requires at least one trip over the Golden Gate Bridge.

I've already wasted too many words on that dumb movie. AVOID!

Books Read: One. Which is to say I only finished one, but actually spent most of the month reading a different book. So, that'll come next month. This month's book was "I Know I Am But What Are You?" by Samantha Bee, probably best known for her work on "The Daily Show." The first half is about her childhood, but I actually enjoyed the latter half of the book, in which she talks about her marriage and that time her cat had sex with her head.

Fancy Dinners Out: One, at--you guessed it--Town Hall, this time for Jess's birthday. I had steak. It was great.

Live Shows Seen: One! I actually went to a live show! Granted it was part of a benefit for a friend's film, so I can thank her for getting me out of the house to take in a show by the Meat Sluts. They were good. They were loud.

Shoes Bought: One pair. I wanted a go-to pair of heels that could be worn with vintage and modern clothes, that were also comfy enough to get me through an evening, and figured I should give dancing shoes a shot. And these fit the bill! They are very cute, and oh so comfortable as well. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for stylish + comfort.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Don't Stop the Pop! Or the Clock! Or the Pop, Some More!

I've been excited for this all month, and it is finally here! DJ Earworm's United States of Pop mash-up for 2010:

I never thought I could tolerate Ke$ha in any form, let alone Katy Perry, but this mash-up manages to make them listenable...

You can watch 2009's mashup here, and 2008's here, (that one's still my fave).

Here's DJ Earworm's post about the song, which includes a link to download the MP3.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Festivus, Georgie!

"You couldn't smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe...I lost my train of thought."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Get a Life Day!

Here's the thing: I LOVED "Star Wars" when it came out in 1977. Loved. And I loved it in 1978. In fact, the movie must have still been showing in theaters then because I know I had a birthday party that was primarily an excuse to see "Star Wars" again with a bunch of friends, and that would have been in January of '78...

Which is why I find it so puzzling that I have absolutely no memory of watching the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special" when it aired in 1978. Did I just not know about it? We had a TV, and I know I was watching a lot of it at that age, so it seems odd that I wouldn't have heard about it. Did I actually see it, and block it completely out of my memory because the awfulness of it was so traumatic? Did my parents keep its existence a secret because they knew if would be awful, or, more likely, because there was something else on at that time that they wanted to watch?

I may never know. But part of me is glad I missed it as a kid--or forgot about it completely--because I think it might have permanently tainted my "Star War" love had I seen it, and that was something that I'm grateful didn't happen until the prequels were released. (Well, OK, it kind of began to happen towards the end of "Return of the Jedi," but let's pretend it didn't.)

Regardless, I'm happy it's relatively easy to watch these days, even if the video quality is for crap. Happy Life Day, everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are There No Prisons? Are There No Workhouses?

I got laid off on Tuesday. I wasn't the only one. Perhaps you read about it? Yes, just in time for Christmas. Ironically, the last time I was laid off, from a different job, was also right before the holidays. What's up with that?

So, that has cast a little pall over the season, but I am doing my best to just appreciate the fact that I have some time off, and am not a few dollars away from living on the street.

Still, it's tough. I ain't gonna lie.

But enough about that! Here's some bitter Christmas fun!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Marinate It Overnight In the Tears of a Heartbroken Leprechaun

"The Simpsons" aired its Christmas special this past Sunday. Some of it was good, and some of it was not so good. Below is my favorite bit, featuring guest star Martha Star.

And That's What the War On Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown

Holiday special alert! "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is on ABC at 8 P.M. tonight! Do watch.

And here's a related Christmas clip from last night's "Daily Show." Do watch.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Gretch Who Saved the War on Christmas
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Monday, December 06, 2010

Little Boots!

Happy Sinterklass Day, the freakish Christmas tradition of my peoples! Actually, the big party was last night, Sinterklaasavond, but whatever.

If you haven't read David Sedaris's take on it, what the hell? Do it.

And, per usual...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I Love a Good Bunny Hunt

Maybe one of these years I'll have the energy to do a daily Christmas post kind of thing, like the Halloween countdown. But not this year! Alas...

Still, I'll try to provide SOME occasional merriment. Like this clip from the dearly departed "Bonnie Hunt Show," in which she interviews my Muppet boyfriend Pepe the King Prawn. I hope you like it okay.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

October Round-Up - 2010

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas looms. Some other traditions loom as well, such as what is starting to seem like an annual Yule-tide worry over whether or not I'll have a job come the new year. So, instead of looking towards the troublesome future, let's look to the recent past...

Movies Seen: Nine, with none in a theater. Best is a toss-up between "The Secret In Their Eyes" and "Please Give." "Eyes" was really a glorified whodunit drama, with some legal procedural thrown in, but because it's foreign, it seems more important. Worth seeing if only for one incredible (seemingly) long take in a football stadium.

I liken "Please Give" to some of Woody Allen's earlier, funny films. Certainly better Woody Allen than Woody has been doing these days...

The worst was probably the useless documentary "Who Killed Nancy." You will not learn who killed Nancy, you will not get to hear any of the era's original music, and you will not get those 90 minutes of your life back.

Books Read: Five. First up was "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk" by David Sedaris, which I read in about two hours. It's an odd little book, and probably only worth reading if you are a Sedaris completest.

Next was "Lips Unsealed: A Memoir" by Belinda Carlisle. Yes, the Go-Go. I'm a sucker for celeb bios, what can I say? Before going into the book, I was aware Carlisle was a huge cokehead during the 80s. I was not so aware she was basically a huge cokehead throughout the 90s and 2000s, too. Whoa.

The best book of the month, hands down, was "One Day" by David Nicholls. It's very, very funny, and very, very, romantic, and had me crying my eyes out at times. I think it should be read by everyone. EVERYONE!

At the end of the month I got on a movie criticism kick, reading "Afterglow: A Last Conversation With Pauline Kael" by Francis Davis, which is, as the title suggests, just an extended conversation with Kael, towards the end of her life. I disagree with Kael more than I agree with her, (because seriously, anyone who thinks Brian DePalma is a cinematic genius has to have a screw or two loose), but I still appreciate her, if that makes any sense. She stopped reviewing towards the end of her life, so I think this book is one of the best opportunities to get her opinions on some of the movies she never got to actually review...

Finally, I finished "Scorsese By Ebert," which I had been reading in bits and pieces since I got it as a Christmas present. It made me want to indulge in a Scorsese movie marathon.

Fancy Dinners Out: Two, in the same day! First was lunch at Absinthe, followed by dinner at Izzy's Steaks and Chops. I think to fully appreciate Absinthe I should go for dinner, and get more than a BLT. Izzy's was awesome as usual.

Live Shows Seen: None!

Shoes Bought: One pair: these pumps from Target, but in "red," which isn't actually red, but more like a wine or magenta color. They were tres cheap, and are tres comfy.


In case you didn't get the memo, in the form of my weekly "Hey Watch It!" post on the SFGate Culture Blog, here's another reminder: "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is on tonight at 8 P.M. on CBS! No word on whether this version will include some never-before-seen scenes...

But that's not all! Also on tonight is "Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" at 8 P.M. on ABC!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Haven't Even Finished Eating All of My Halloween Candy!

In case you missed it last night, there's another chance to watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." RIGHT HERE!

It's paired with the slightly less endearing "The Mayflower Voyagers," but just click away when that business gets started. Enjoy!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Cry Cry Cry

On "SNL" this week, there was a sketch called "I Didn't Ask For This," which included an epic crying jag from host Jon Hamm. Watch the full bit below.

Of course, it was inspired by a real viral video, taken from the A&E show "Intervention." So in the interest of completion, you can watch it here too!

And auto-tuned!

You're welcome!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

September Round-Up - 2010

Halloween and October are coming to an end. So let's go back in time to September, before having to face the impending crush of the holidays was causing panic attacks.

Movies Seen: Twelve, with none in a theater. Most of them were pretty bad. ("The Book of Eli," "Repo Men," and "Clash of the Titans" being some of the worst.) The best was "Me and Orson Wells," a great little movie from director Richard Linklater. The performance by Christian McKay as Orson Welles is amazing, and Zac Efron is surprisingly good. See it!

Books Read: Three. "Imperial Bedrooms" by Bret Easton Ellis, which is a sequel to "Less Than Zero." It's about as bad as "Less Than Zero" was; maybe even a little worse. I guess I just don't go for nihilism and misogyny.

"The Passage" by Justin Cronin was a much better read, and despite its being an end-of-the-world book (well, post-apocalyptic) it was much less depressing than "Bedrooms." If you've got vampire fatigue, don't let the fact that this is about vampires turn you off of it. It's a gripping, epic read, and I can't wait until parts two and three.

Finally, the last book was "The Unnamed" by Joshua Ferris, the story of a guy with an unknown affliction that causes him to, at totally random moments, start to compulsively walk, for miles, and hours, until his body just gives out on him, and he passes out. This can prove very problematic during the winter, not to mention the issues of work and family. But despite the inventive and original plot, I was ultimately kind of bored by it, and kept wondering why the guy and his family didn't just move to a state with mild weather, so as to avoid the risk of frostbite and hypothermia....

Fancy Dinners Out: None!

Live Shows Seen: None!

Shoes Bought: Two pair, these bejeweled ballet flats, and these rubber wellies, both from Target.

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 31

It's Halloween!!! Put on those masks and watch this!

Has your skull dissolved into a puddle of bugs and snakes? Excellent! You didn't want to go out trick or treating tonight anyway, right? Now you have the perfect excuse to stay home and watch TV...Although, not having a head might make that a little hard.


Well, for those of you out there who do still have heads, and are looking to spend this Halloween in front of the TV, your choices are plentiful!

One of the best horror movies I've seen in recent years was last year's "House of the Devil," an indie homage to the horror movies of the 1980s. What makes it good, though, is it doesn't get all satirical or tongue in cheek about it. It plays it straight, and as a result really feels like something you might have watched on VHS back in the day. Some have complained that it's all build-up and no pay-off, but for me, the build-up is so good, by the time it ended, I was just happy having gone on the ride. So, set those timers, because it's on in just a few hours at 4 A.M. on MTV!

Per usual, Turner Classic Movies is going all out, all day. You can see the entire schedule here, but the night is capped with three haunted house flicks, starting at 5 P.M. with the original "House on Haunted Hill."

The absolutely brilliant "The Haunting" follows at 6:30 P.M., and "Poltergeist" caps the night at 8:30 P.M.

Finally, there's the premiere of the new series "The Walking Dead" at 10 P.M. on AMC. I think the zombie thing is almost as played out as vampires (where's the resurgence of "Frankenstein"-inspired movies already??), but the series does play into my love of post-apocalyptic stories, and is being headed by directed Frank Darabont, who at least has some talent for literary horror adaptations. I'll be watching, but for how long, who knows...

And with that, this year's Maniacal Movie Countdown comes to a close. I want to thank all those who have stopped by (and I know you have, even if you've been pretty quiet about it!) and hope I gave you some laughs, and some chills, this past month. I also want to encourage everyone to go back and check out some of the other blogs that have taken part in the Countdown to Halloween. You can see the entire list here.

I hope you all have a great Halloween, in front of the TV, or out trick-or-treating, or sitting alone in the dark in your costume. I can't wait for next year!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 30

It's the night before Halloween, and once again I turn to Elvira to provide Saturday's countdown pick. Tonight's episode features the 1947 Bela Lugosi picture "Scared to Death," the only color film Lugosi ever made. It's also only about an hour long, which will either mean more bits from Elvira to fill out the show's two hour running time, or more commercials. Here's hoping for the former...1 A.M. on KOFY TV 20, cable channel thirteen.

Cat Scare

Please be patient while your clip gets past all the bullshit and actually plays. It's worth it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 29

I know "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is the perfect Halloween special because, duh, it's about Halloween. But it's also the perfect Halloween special because it centers on the creepy delusions of someone who is obviously INSANE. Charlie Brown, what are you doing letting your little sister Sally hang out with that lunatic? 8 P.M. on ABC.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 28

"The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane" has been a favorite since I first saw it as youngster. It's a really, really odd little thriller, about a very independent young woman (Jodie Foster) who may or may not have a deep dark secret. Martin Sheen plays the town pedophile (really). Scott Jacoby, who, aside from an appearance in a TV version of "Anne Frank," never did much of note after this, is particularly good as Foster's love interest. Don't expect big scares, but it's an effective movie that sticks with you. 9:15 P.M. on TCM.

(Note: For the record, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is on tonight at 8 P.M. on ABC, but it's being repeated tomorrow, so you'll see my post about it then.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 26

"Slaughter of the Vampires," AKA "Curse of the Blood Ghouls," is a 1962 black-and-white vampire movie from Italy, and because it involves Italians, it is ever so slightly more sexy than your average vampire movie knock-off. But maybe that's just me. Watch it very soon, at 4:45 A.M. on AMC!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 25

I usually like to include the 1978 "Halloween" at some point in this countdown, but it's rare that a channel will be showing the original, widescreen, and uncut version. This year is no different. Alas. So, instead, how about the documentary "The Inside Story: Halloween," premiering tonight at 6 P.M. and 10 P.M. on the Bio Channel. It's a long program (about 90 minutes once you take out the commercials), so there's bound to be something new to even the movie's biggest fans...

And here's the movie's original trailer, just 'cause.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 24

The vampire in the silent classic "Nosferatu" is definitely not the pretty and sparkly variety loved by the tweens today. In fact, Max Schreck's vamp is probably the creepiest to ever hit the screen, at least until Klaus Kinski revived the role in the Werner Herzog remake. (And really, Max's version is still creepier.) Watch the 1922 film at 9 P.M. on TCM.

I'm not sure which musical version of the movie TCM is playing, but here's a clip from a version I saw at the Castro Theater years ago, with the Club Foot Ochestra. It's not to everyone's taste, but I thought it was pretty great...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 23

On tonight's episode of "Elvira's Movie Macabre," the horror hostess with the mostest screens "The Satanic Rites of Dracula," Hammer's sequel to "Dracula A.D. 1972." Christopher Lee plays Drac for the last time in a Hammer film, and attempts to take over the entire world, starting with modern-day London. (Well, modern at the time. The fashions look about as quaint now as those of the previous period-set films.) Watch it at 1 A.M. on KOFY TV 20 cable channel 13.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 22

"The Boogens" sounds more like something you'd try to clandestinely wipe under a table, but it is, in fact, a 1981 horror movie about monsters in a Utah mine shaft. Boogens boogens! Watch it at 11:30 P.M. on TCM.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 21

The original, 1973 version of "The Wicker Man" is on TCM at 9pm tonight. I hear it's better than the remake, but as I've never actually seen either all the way through, I can't say for sure. So let's compare some scenes from the remake (AKA, one of the best YouTube videos of all time) with the trailer for the original, and come to some kind of conclusion, shall we?



My conclusion? They both look ridiculous.

And take your stupid mask.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 20

This is another one comin' at you early, since the movie is on early this morning...

If the only version of "The Vanishing" you've seen is the American version, you should do yourself a favor and watch the original French/Dutch version. If you haven't seen either the version, then you're in luck! You now have the change to watch the superior version, and not have the experience ruined by knowing how it ends....

You don't know the ending, right? Good. Watch it at 7:35am on IFC. (It's also repeated on the 26th at 5:05am and 10:10am.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 19

The 1973 movie "Terror On the Beach" is not a grim entry into the Beach Blanket franchise. Instead, it is a made-for-TV horror movie about a family vacation gone bad, thanks to dune buggy riding, Manson family wannabes. Dennis Weaver and Estelle Parsons are the parents, and Susan Dey is the teenage daughter. 4:30pm on the Fox Movie Channel.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 18

Roger Corman's fourth film is a post-apocalyptic tale of survival, slutty women, and man-eating mutants. Watch "The Day the World Ended" late, late, late tonight (AKA tomorrow morning) at 4:15am on AMC.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 17

This trailer for "Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers" proves that trailers that give away most of the major plot points of a movie are not a new thing. So, I present it to you with the requisite "spoiler alert!"

And if the trailer doesn't completely satisfy your curiosity about this 1956 sci-fi classic, you can watch the whole thing at 9:30am on TCM.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 16

"Suspiria" is one of the freakiest, creepiest, grooviest, most ridiculous, and most beautiful horror movies ever made. You simply must see it! 7pm on the Fox Movie Channel.

For your viewing pleasure, two trailers. An American version and an international version. Both will probably leave you feeling very perplexed indeed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 15

Turner Classic Movies continues it's Friday night tribute to Hammer Studios tonight with a marathon of their "Mummy" movies. You can check the schedule online, but the best of the movies remains the original "The Mummy," which you can watch at 5:00pm.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Use In Case of An Emergency

Probably no way to find out who originally posted this comment, but feel free to use it the next time you are dealing with idiots and trolls. Or Bill O'Reilly.

Look at your comment. Back to mine. Back to yours, NOW BACK TO MINE. Sadly, it isn't mine. But if you stopped trolling and started posting legitimate crap it could LOOK like mine. Look down, back up, where are you? You're scrolling through comments, finding the ones that your comment could look like. Back at mine, what is it? It's a highly effective counter-troll. Look again, MY COMMENT IS NOW DIAMONDS.

Anything is possible when you think before you comment or post.

I'm on a computer.

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 14

Alfred Hitchcock's only foray into 3D filmmaking will not be viewable in 3D on your TV. But sit real close to the set, and it might feel like Grace Kelly's hand is about to hit you in the face as she's getting strangled! Watch "Dial M For Murder" at 3pm on TCM.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 13

Putting this up at midnight because the movie is on in just over four hours. Night owls, this one's for you!

"War of the Colossal Beast" is the sequel to "The Amazing Colossal Man," that classic 1950's tale of a giant man in a giant diaper being chased by giant syringes and tiny trucks. He's back and as big as ever in this one, though he's looking a little worse for wear, what with the facial scarring and the missing (giant) eyeball and all...Watch it at 4:30am on AMC. (And again at 2am on the 23rd!)

Here's a trailer...

And the beginning of MST3K's take on the movie...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 12

Tonight brings you the second Coffin Joe movie, and the sequel to yesterday's pick, "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul." "This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse" finds Coffin Joe once again on the prowl for his perfect bride. Torture and trials commence. 10:30pm on IFC.

Couldn't find a trailer for this one, so here's the movie's opening. (And for the record, part three of the trilogy, "Awakening of the Beast," can be seen Wednesday night at 10:35pm, also on IFC.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 11

The 1963 Brazilian movie "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul" is famous for (supposedly) being Brazil's first horror movie, as well as the first appearance of the Coffin Joe character created by director Jose Mojica Marins. Watch it at 10:35pm IFC.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 10

OMG! It's 10-10-10!!! That's a full-on double rainbow! WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Such a day deserves an AWESOME movie, right? Alas, all I can give you is "The Lost Boys" at 1 P.M. on VH1.

I saw "The Lost Boys" at a sneak preview screening at the Coronet Theater in San Francisco in 1987. They gave out posters and I hung one over my bed for a few years, Jason Patric looking down on me as I slept, until I came to realize the movie was actually really, really silly, and down it came. But I can thank (or blame) the flick for a brief period of total infatuation with Jim Morrison and the Doors, and, looking back, I suppose the movie isn't that bad...

OK. I just remembered the ending. Yeah, it's pretty bad.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 9

It's Saturday, and that means: Elvira night! On tonight's show, she will be featuring "The Giant Gila Monster," an absolutely classic bad 1950's horror movie featuring hot rods, rock and roll, and "giant" monsters. Watch the show at 1 A.M. on KOFY TV 20, cable channel 13!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 8

As I've grown older, I've found I'm more and more disturbed by some of the slasher movies of my youth. Not that I was watching things like "Don't Answer the Phone" when I was kid (although, some came close). It just seems a little harder to separate the blatant misogyny from the thrills in some of them. I don't know if that's the case with this one, since I've never actually seen it, but the trailer sure is sleazy....

Aside from that, I like that it is another in a line of "Don't" horror movies that seemed to come out after the release of Nicholas Roeg's "Don't Look Now." Others include "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," (soon to be remade by Guillermo Del Toro); "Don't Look in the Basement;" "Don't Open the Door;" "Don't Go in the House;" "Don't Go in the Woods;" and "Don't Go to Sleep." And of course, all were spoofed in the "Don't" "Grindhouse" trailer. Someone has GOT to have a "Don't" film festival sometime!....Or, don't.

Watch this one tonight at 12:45am on IFC.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 7

I re-watched both "Alien" and "Aliens" earlier this year, and while I've seen them both many, many times, this was the first time I had watched them both back-to-back. Doing so made me realize they are, in many ways, the same movie; there are so many moments in the first movie that are repeated in the second. "Aliens" is really just a bigger, louder version of "Alien." Which, don't get me wrong, is fine; they're both great. But I think "Aliens" benefited greatly by being released seven years after the first one...

Technically, you can try my experiment at home by watching the original "Alien" tonight at 7pm on TCM, and "Aliens" tomorrow at 8pm on AMC. But I just can't recommend watching any movie on AMC since they continue to air pan-and-scan versions of their films, edited, and full of commercials. So, "Alien" it is....

(P.S. That is a friggin awesome trailer.)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 6

After watching the trailer for the 1980 flick "The Hearse," you might be under the impression that it's a comedy. Joke's on you! It's totally, totally serious. Watch it at 11:15pm on IFC.

Someone get the Rifftrax or Cinematic Titanic folks on this one, stat!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 5

The 1931 "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" starring Fredric March is not my favorite "Jekyll and Hyde" movie, (that would be the one starring Spencer Tracy), but it's still a pretty good one, nonetheless. You can watch it at 5:00pm on TCM.

I'll have what he...on second thought, no, I don't want what he's having. At least, not without a chaser.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 4

I know almost nothing about the movie "Dark Mirror," which you can watch at 1:45pm on IFC, aside from the fact that it is not the movie "Mirrors," starring Kiefer Sutherland. And that mirrors are probably involved in both.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 3

A few years ago, and by a few, I mean almost 10, I rented the 1980 film "The Changeling" from Netflix because I had been told the movie was super scary, and I had, surprisingly, never seen it. I watched it, and wasn't all that scared by it, although there were a few creepy moments involving a wheel chair and a bouncing ball. No, the really scary part was how I dropped the DVD in a mailbox around midnight the night I watched it, and Netflix got it back that morning!

Did I drop it into a haunted mailbox?? Did a ghost mailman return it for me? Was the very disc, itself, possessed? I MAY NEVER KNOW.

Watch "The Changeling" at 5:15am on the Independent Film Channel.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 2

Last week, I was pleased as punch to watch the return of "Elvira's Movie Macabre" on late night TV. Here in San Francisco, you can watch the show at 1am, late Saturday nights, on KOFY TV 20, cable channel 13. To find out where to watch in your neck of the woods, check the station list here.

Here's a video of the show's opening, which features a theme song produced by Jack White of the White Stripes.

Tonight's movie is the hilariously awful Roger Corman flick "The Terror," starring Boris Karloff, and Jack Nicholson, who plays a French Napoleonic soldier. For reals.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 1

And, so it begins! Welcome to day one of the Maniacal Movie Countdown. For every day this month, I will be recommending something spooky you can watch on TV. Most of the time it will be a movie, but I'll also include some Halloween specials, or TV shows when appropriate, complete with glorious YouTube clips, when available. All showtimes are going to be PST, and some recommendations may be on strictly local channels. But I hope the posts are worth a daily visit in and of themselves. And, be sure to check out the numerous other blogs out there that will doing countdowns of their own. You can find a complete list at the Countdown to Halloween site.

I love October for many reasons, Halloween's only one of them. I love that in San Francisco, the weather is usually its nicest (if at times, even TOO hot); I love that the Blue Angels terrorize the city during Fleet Week; I love that it means Christmas is THAT MUCH closer. And I love all the spooky Halloween offerings the month brings...

Today, we start off big, with a Hammer Studios "Dracula" marathon on Turner Classic Movies!

Start with the first of the Hammer Dracula movies, "Horror of Dracula," featuring the great Christopher Lee as the Count, at 5pm TCM.

The sequel, "Brides of Dracula" doesn't actually feature Christopher Lee, which is probably why it's not that memorable. Or maybe I just don't like blond vampires. It's on at 6:30pm.

"Dracula, Prince of Darkness" brings the return of Christopher Lee, in which he is resurrected, wreaks havoc, and speaks not a word. 8pm.

And lastly, we have "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave" which features Christopher Lee once again, this time actually speaking. 9:45pm.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

August Round-Up - 2010

I am writing about August, which was, for the most part, cold and foggy, at the end of September, during a week that has had some horrid hot days. That is why I never complain about our cold summers. Because hot summers in a city with no air conditioning? Are hell. The only time I want to walk outside and start sweating is when I am walking from my room to the pool in Palm Springs.

Movies Seen: Twelve, with one in a theater. That one being "Piranha 3D." OF COURSE! It was everything you could want from a 3D movie about killer piranhas. And more! I only wish a major spoiler about the film's end wasn't totally given away in the trailer. Curses!

Of the DVDs watched, "The Ghost Writer" was probably my favorite, although I feel really, really dirty giving good marks to a movie directed by Roman Polanski. The worst was "The Losers," another in a long string of useless comic book movies. I only sat through the whole thing so I could look at Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Books Read: Two. The first was "How Did You Get This Number," by Sloane Crosley. I had read her first book "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," and actually wasn't that impressed, so I don't know why I decided to read her latest. But, it was actually better than that first book, though I still don't think she can hold a candle up to other, similar, essayists, like Merrill Markoe, or Cynthia Heimel (who I really, really wish would write a new book!), and in the age of blogs, I don't think she's much better than any number of bloggers out there. So. Basically, I'm just totally jealous of her and her book deal.

The other book was "Jacqueline Susann's Shadow of the Dolls" by not Jacqueline Susann. It's a "sequel" to "Valley of the Dolls," that is reportedly based on the notes Susann had made for a sequel before she died, and was ultimately written by someone named Rae Lawrence. The infuriating thing is the book takes place in the late '80s, with the women all pushing 40. Of course, the math for that doesn't make a lick of sense, whether your writing a sequel to the movie OR the book, since the women are hitting their 40s at the end of those, and this is a few decades later. So, basically, the book upholds the horrible notion that women any older than 40 are not worth a story about. The book is as badly written as a Susann book, though, so kudos there!

Fancy Dinners Out: None, really, although I did attend a birthday brunch at the Presidio Social Club, which was very nice....

Live Shows Seen: One, and what a show! That would be Lady Gaga in San Jose, which I wrote about here and here.

Shoes Bought: One pair. These Isabel Toledo for Payless flats, which HURT LIKE HELL.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Coming Soon!

This blog may have seemed rather quiet of late, but that's all going to change soon! October is almost here, and as I have done for the past several years, I will be posting daily as part of a great big bloggy Countdown to Halloween. Woo! And: BOO!

How excited am I? I'm Sally-Draper's-going-to-see-the-Beatles excited, that's how excited!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer: OVER!

This week is the first official week of Fall TV, which means my carefree days of TV avoidance are OVER. Alas. Of course, I am glad to see the return of some shows ("Community; "30 Rock," and....uh...could that be it??) and am somewhat relieved to learn there really aren't a lot of new shows I'm that excited about. WHICH! Brings me to the reason for this post. I'll be giving a quick rundown of this week's new shows every day over on the Appeal, and you can read today's post right here!

And, as always, you can see my weekly Hey, Watch It! post on the SFGate Culture blog. Go, now, and learn about Elvira's return to late night movie hosting!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

July Round-up - 2010

July was great. July was terrible.

July was great because I spent another vacation in Palm Springs with the gals. Once again we stayed at the Chase Hotel. Once again it was a totally fabulous and relaxing week.

July was terrible because a week after I returned from vacation, Tori got very, very sick, and I had to have her put down. She deserves a separate post, but I still feel really sad about it, and miss her terribly, and just haven't been able to write that post yet. But I will...

So, let's look back on some of July's happier moments instead.

Movies Seen: Ten, with none in a theater. The best was a small movie from Ireland called "The Eclipse." It's a spooky movie, but I think it's best to not know much more than that going into it. Have to say, though, that it genuinely startled me more than once, which is something not many movies are able to do to me these days.

The absolute worst was "Remember Me," the non-vampire movie starring Robert Pattinson. It's supposed to be a tragic love story, but the ending is SO shameless, and exploitative, that all I could do was scream, "You have GOT TO BE KIDDING!" as I was watching it.

Books Read: Six. Most of my lounging-by-the-pool time was spent reading.

I read Chuck Klosterman's "Fargo Rock City" before I actually left for vacation, but it was a quick read. It was in the remainder pile at the bookstore, and being that it's the only (non-fiction) book of his that I haven't read, I figured I'd pick it up. Who knew there was enough to be said about 1980s heavy metal music to fill up a 200+ page book?

As has become tradition while in Palm Springs, I also read some Sookie Stackhouse books, this time "From Dead To Worse" and "Dead and Gone." That leaves just one more to read come next vacation, unless Charlaine Harris writes another between now and then...

I read Priscilla Beaulieu Presley's autobiography "Elvis and Me" in about one day. Key take-away: Elvis was creepy.

And finally, when all my vacation books were done, and I found myself with nothing to read, I bought a copy of "Valley of the Dolls" which, shockingly, I had never actually read before. It was the perfect poolside book. Which isn't to say it's good. God, it's badly written! I just couldn't get past how EVERY time there was a conversation in the book, the characters would address each other by name. People do not do this!

"Neely, you have to stop taking pills with liquor. That's dangerous!"

"Oh, Anne. You're so square. They work faster that way!"

"But Neely, you've already taken three!"

"Anne, you don't understand, I need to sparkle in the morning!"

[Insert name here], the key to good writing is trusting your reader can follow a conversation without constantly being reminded who is talking to whom.

Finally, I got "The Carrie Diaries," Candace Bushnell's young adult prequel to "Sex and the City," from the library when I got back into town, and plowed straight through that one in about a day. I think anyone who's a fan of the show would probably enjoy it. It's not great, but I have to say I absolutely LOVED the ending, specifically, the final line in the book...

Fancy Dinners Out: I'm going to say five, but most were down in Palm Springs.

The S.F. dinner was at Town Hall for Chuck's birthday. Once again, it was a fabulous meal.

In Palm Springs, we basically went to the same places we go every year. We're like that. It included Citron at the Viceroy, and I can't remember what I ate because the cocktails were so good; and a steak at the Falls, along with some smoking martinis.

We also had some good bar eats at the Ace Hotel, and went to Las Casuelas Terraza twice. Truthfully, I could eat their chicken ranchero every damn night and be happy; still looking for a a place in the city that serves something similar...

Live Shows Seen: Just the daily entertainment that unfolded at the pool.

Shoes Bought: Two pairs. One pair of really ugly Grasshoppers, suitable for retirement home living, but they were only 10 bucks. And one pair of red cork platform sandals by Nine West for 20 bucks. Both bought at the Cabazon outlets.

While at the outlets, I also got two handbags--one Kate Spade, one Cole Haan--for waaaaaaaay cheap. I mean, these were ridiculously priced originally--about 300 bucks each, and I got them for about 50 each. I love Palm Springs!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's BALL, Not Balls. That Would Just Be Gross.

I went to the Lady Gaga show, AKA, the Monster Ball, on Monday, and wrote a review, which you can read over on the SF Appeal. Read it! DO IT!

A few things not mentioned in the review:

* I totally missed my exit once I got to San Jose, but was able to drive directly to the Pavilion, despite a total lack of signs leading the way, and despite the fact that I have only driven there once before. Do not doubt my sense of direction, yo!

* I took my 17-year-old cousin to the show, and she couldn't get over how many old people were in the audience. Aside from me.

* There were lots of girls wearing yellow CAUTION tape (ala the Telephone video) wrapped around their bodies, but there was also one girl wearing yellow CAUTION WET PAINT tape, which is either really sad, or totally awesome.

* One of the most memorable aspects of the show, to me, was hearing Gaga's heavy breathing during rare moments of quiet in between songs. Hearing the amplified sound of someone catching their breathe in an arena filled with thousands was a new for me. You'll never hear Madonna trying to catch her breathe during her shows, (since she's superhuman), or Britney at hers (since she doesn't actually sing). It was oddly humanizing....

* I left the parking lot at the HP Pavilion in San Jose at 11:45pm and arrived in San Francisco at 12:20am. That's driving, son! (Also, it was a sad reminder of the horrors of rush hour traffic, as sometimes my shuttle ride home from Sunnyvale, which is not too far from San Jose, can take two hours.)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

June Round-Up - 2010

July was kind of a rough month for me, so let's look back on June, which was a little more light-hearted.

Movies Seen: Eleven, with one in a theater. That one was "Toy Story 3," which I loved. Of course. Pixar continues to hit it out of the park, and cause me to laugh and sob in the company of strangers.

None of the DVDs I watched were very memorable. I re-watched "Shutter Island," and found it was actually a more interesting movie this time around. It's definitely a different experience watching it a second time, so to anyone who didn't like it much on first viewing, I do recommend seeing it again...

The most disappointing movie was definitely Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." I suppose I am not surprised I didn't like it; I've been nothing but disappointed by Tim Burton's movies for years now. I was just a little shocked at how pedestrian the story was. How can you take something as wonderfully wacky as the "Alice" books and turn them into something so cliched? I will admit I laughed a few times at Helena Bonham Carter's Queen, but really, she was the only source of merriment in the entire bleak and depressing thing.

Books Read: Three. Most of the month was devoted to finally getting around to reading Stephen King's "Under the Dome." I'm a veteran when it comes to gigantic King books. The first time I read "The Stand," I think it took me four days. And I read "It" in a weekend. Alas, this one took me longer to finish than the timeline of the book itself. (Yes, the huge tome spans only one week!) Ultimately, I did enjoy it, but I kind of wished he'd avoided an explanation for the dome that covers the small town, (I suppose any kind of explanation would have seemed preposterous, but what he went with was particularly silly), and if you're wondering if this one ends like many King books do, with a huge explosion or fire of some kind, the answer would be yes.

Also, reading this book was the only time I've even considered reading an e-book instead, because it was the hardback version, and as I mentioned, it's big. It's a bitch to lug around, and I do carry a book with me almost all the time, especially to and from work, as I read on the shuttle. So, I was prepared to buy the e-version for my iPod, just for those commuting moments, only to find Amazon was charging more for the e-book than I paid for the actual book. Why, oh why, do they not offer an e-book for free--or at least at a discount--if you've purchased an actual real version of said book already? Someone get on that, OK?

I also read Molly Ringwald's "Getting the Pretty Back." SHUT UP!

And finally, I read Daniel Clowes's "Wilson," which I found kind of...confusing. I liked it, laughed several times, and ultimately found it poignant. But his decision to do each comic in a different drawing style--that does not really have anything to do with the content of the comic itself--kind of baffled me...

Fancy Dinners Out: Four. Dine About Town happened again, so I took advantage of that a few times. Once at the Big Four restaurant, which I recommend, because it seemed a really good bargain compared to their usual menu prices, and the portions were huge. The other was at LarkCreek Steak, which was also very tasty, although the menu choices seemed a little limited.

As for the non-Dine About Town meals, one was at Baker and Banker, where I had a sweet corn bisque that I can remember liking, and something else that I remember liking, but can't remember what it was. I think it was a salad? The other was a Father's Day dinner at Town Hall. Once again, a fab meal was had there, and, once again, I got the jalepeno cream ham and egg app as my entree, but we also had their version of barbecue shrimp as an appetizer, and man, that was GOOOOD.

Live Shows Seen: One. Goldfrapp at the Fox. This was the first time I kind of regretted getting balcony seats (which I tend to prefer because I am old), because it just felt weird sitting there and watching when what she was performing was mostly dance music. But we did get up and boogie a few times, as much as that could be done up there. I thought the show was great, and it pleases me to no end that she is older than I am, and so utterly awesome.

Shoes Bought: One pair, these sandals, in turquoise, which I bought for the sole purpose of wearing during my Palm Springs vacation in July. They were selected because I liked the color, and also because they weren't designed like thongs. I can't abide thongs or thong-like sandals for a variety of reasons, but the main one is I cannot stand having something wedged between my toes. Drives me NUTS. So these were nice and kind of plain, and worked out well on my trip...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Strike Her!

In my post about "Little Darlings," I talked about how the movie came out in 1980, and how that meant, if I saw it the year of its release, I was only 10 at the time. Now the Internet is talking about the 30th anniversary of the movie "Airplane!" and I know for a fact I saw that in a theater when it came out, and I was with friends. I can even remember the theater: It was the Royal on Polk Street, and we sat in the balcony. (Alas, the theater is gone now, which is sadly the case with almost all of the movie theaters of my youth.) I think we may have stayed and watched it twice. And it may not have been the first time I had seen it either, as I recall seeing it with my parents as well.

I don't have a point, really, except to say that yes, indeed, I did go to the movies with friends, unaccompanied by adults, at the age of ten. Which I think is pretty awesome. Also, it's an excuse to include this compilation clip featuring my favorite "Airplane!" character.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sweet Summer Sweat

Speaking of summer movies, and summer camp movies in particular, I saw that "Wet Hot American Summer" is playing at the Roxie this Sunday, along with "One Crazy Summer" for a double feature they are, of course, calling "One Crazy Wet Hot American Summer." Sounds like a good way to spend the Fourth...

"Wet Hot American Summer" is one of those movies I appreciated more than I liked. I adore what it was trying to do, and it spoke directly to my nostalgia. But it just wasn't as funny as I had hoped it would be. The opening credits though? Five stars.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

May Round-Up - 2010

You know, I can't really believe June is over, because it really, really feels like the stuff I did in May just happened. Before I know it, my vacation will be over, and it hasn't even begun yet. Oh, time!

Movies Seen: Eleven, with one in a theater. That one was "Sex and the City 2," which I discussed here. Of the DVDs I watched I was most pleasantly surprised with "It's Complicated." Sure, it's not exactly a deep movie, but I found it quite funny. Meryl Streep has one line in it that had me laughing so hard I had to pause the movie until I'd stopped...

The worst was probably "Nine," the musical. It reaffirmed why I don't like most musicals, and was just so damn dumb that I couldn't believe that the talent involved didn't have at least ten other better things they could have spent their time on.

Books Read: Three. The first was "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. I had read it in school, as everyone seems to be required to, but it was the shorter "abridged" version, so I finally got around to reading the longer, uncensored version. I am sure there is still some stuff that was left out, but it's definitely a different book than the one I knew. But it is no less heartbreaking.

One might think moving from the diary of a girl who basically starved to death, (that wasn't the official cause of death, but it was a contributing factor, all things considered), to the memoir of a woman who almost starved to death to become a model, to be a bit...tacky. But whatever. "Hungry" by Crystal Renn was a quick and entertaining read for anyone with a morbid fascination with eating disorders and the world of modeling. Plus Renn is a pretty good writer.

And it was purely by accident that the next book I read was "Women Food and God" by Geneen Roth. When you have books on reserve at the library, you read them when they come in, not by choice, really. The thing is, I have no idea why I had put this on my reserve list in the first place. I must have read something favorable somewhere and compulsively added it. So it was kind of alarming when the day after I started reading it, the author was on "Oprah" to discuss the book. Oprah loves it. I did not. Perhaps if I felt I had some of the food issues that were addressed in the book, I would have found it enlightening. But for me, the issue is simple: I love food. I eat too much of it. So now I try to eat less of it, and try to exercise more. It's a simple thing, really. Now, I acknowledge for some women it is a much bigger issue than that (see Renn, Chrystal, above), but the touchy feely approach in the book really did nothing for me...

Fancy Dinners Out: One, in Santa Cruz, at the restaurant Aquarius, which is in the Dream Inn hotel off of the Boardwalk. I highly recommend it. The place itself is lovely, with amazing views of the beach and the ocean, and the food was delicious. We were there for lunch, and it was reasonably priced for what you got. I had a seafood Louie salad, which was dressed perfectly, and full of really tasty crab. I think the hotel would probably be a fab place to stay as well, as they say all the rooms have an ocean front view, and the decor is a play on mid-century modern.

Live Shows Seen:
None, although I did go to a high school graduation and a baseball game. Do those count?

Shoes Bought: One, a pair of these Ballsox flats, in green, on sale at Nordstrom. They're the perfect shoe to be stuffed into a purse in case of blister emergencies.