Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Ones That Mattered:The 100 best films of the decade

This decade brought us historical triumph and unimaginable tragedy. It has brought out two wars in the Middle East, the end of the second-longest dry streak in sports history, the absolute worst in our elected officials, and the hope and dreams of what we can accomplish from others, among other things. We have seen the rise of the New Media from The Huffington Post and social networking sites, and the free-fall of the printing press.

It has also given us an amazing ride at the movies. And I bet a few handfuls of them have moved, shaped, and entertained you in ways that still stay with you. Over the next few months, I'll be engaging a big undertaking: the 100 best films from this decade. Stay tuned....

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's going on in my head?

When's the last time i've posted anything even remotely personal? Shit, even I don't remember. But I guess it can't hurt to start now, right?

I'm five weeks into my sophomore year at Southwestern Community College. After next year, I plan to transfer. Where? I don't know yet.

Wherever I go, the inevitable will occur for me:

Finding a job.

Getting a driver's license.

Living in a dorm.

Learning how to live with myself.

I don't mean to sound like some stereotypical lazy college student kicking it with mom and dad, but I have a bad streak of being the world's biggest procrastinator. Its an annoying habit i'm trying to break out of. I welcome the fact of making my own money and going wherever I want and not being dependent on public transportation, or seeing a new change in scenery other than America's Finest City....It doesn't help that i'm dead scared.

I might as well be trapped in limbo....knowing that I must leave the nest, but too fucking afraid to learn to fly away. It also doesn't help that I'm still carrying baggage from high school....the angst about not fitting in with my peers, the issues of self-confidence....that same old song-and-dance.

Is this normal for any young person to be going through?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I guess this was unavoidable...

Forget Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, or the biopic Amelie starring Hilary Swank gunning for her third Oscar, or even James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar. This fall, the only movie that will have everyone talking isn't a blockbuster holiday film, or a potential'll be The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Come the middle of October til the midnight release across the country, we'll be living in a Twilight-themed pop culture world with debates ranging from comparing the Twilight series to the Harry Potter franchise, to who's a bigger hottie: Robert Pattinson who plays Edward Cullen or Taylor Lautner who plays Jacob Black. Fans (made up of mostly of middle-school girls and high school girls) of the series will make the second installment a smash hit at the box office when it debuts November 20, while the anti-Twilighters will bash this film to no end.

There's no escaping this reality. And since we'll be engulfed in that world, I decided to pop my Twilight cherry and watch the film on You Tube.

That's right. I was a Twilight-virgin. Before watching the first movie, my only knowledge of the Twilight franchise were the following:
A.) Girls loved the books and the movie (it grossed $191 million in 2008).
B.) Guys loathed it.
C.) It was based on the best-selling vampire novels written by Stephanie Meyers.
D.) Pattinson, who's biggest role before playing Edward was Hogwarts co-champion Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire became the object of every American teenage girl's desires afterward.

At some point though the film, when young Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) learns that the mysterious and handsome Edward Cullen (Pattinson) is a vegetarian vampire (instead of feasting on humans, they hunt animal blood; think Bruce and his shark chums in Finding Nemo), and that her scent makes his mouth water for her flesh, Edward utters the words i'm sure every hopelessly romantic girl longs to hear from their Prince Charming (or Edward in this case): "Your like my own personal brand of heroin."

I have never laughed that hard because of a movie line before...and i've watched The 40 Year-Old Virgin, American Pie, and other time capsule comedies. Unknowingly to me, that would be the only time I would get a rise out of Twilight. I fully understand this franchise is nothing more than a pop-culture product of the moment and that this is not supposed to be catered to people like me. But I cannot forgive just how dreadfully boring and shamelessly cliched the film is.

In Twilight, everyone sulks. The kids sulk at school and on the beach. The divorced father sulks while on the job and at the local diner. Even the vampires sulk. Now i've done my share of teenage sulking and angst, but i've found ways to snap out of it and enjoy my imperfect life, but this level of angst and moping was really unbelievable. You debate to yourself who's more alive: the vampires or the townspeople, but I guess when you live in Forks, Washington; sulking is probably the town's pastime. Swan moves to this sleepy town after mom moves with her new minor league playing boyfriend to sunny and lively Florida, after living in Arizona for most of her life (you'd think at least she'd have some sort of a golden tan, right?)

I'm getting bored explaining this movie, so let me fast forward about the grizzly murders the town is witnessing because even that is about as exciting as watching paint dry (I know this a PG-13 movie, but is a showing a little blood and action too much to ask?!) and how Bella has fallen madly in love with Edward even though he wants nothing more than to have her like a fat kid pines for a double fudge chocolate cake, and let me get right to the point: Twilight successfully drags on and on like this for two hours without having one exciting moment that shakes or frightens you. And don't even get me started on the vampires playing a round of baseball.

Director Catherine Hardwicke (brilliant in her 2003 debut, Thirteen) faithfully captures the essence of Meyer's novel of young, forbidden love, which therein lies the problem: there's no spark between Stewart or Pattinson, no sense of desire or sexual want with Bella and Edward. It's just these two, along with the Cullen clan, moping and posing together like Abercrombie & Fitch models.

Go ahead. Let the teenage girls of America pay money to drool and frig themselves in the cinemas to Edward and Jacob. In fifteen years, the Twilight-craze will take its rightful place alongside High School Musical, Camp Rock, the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, Pokemon, and the emo culture in the trash bin of history; a flash-in-the pan, but with sparkling vampires.

And one other thing: Vampires do not fucking sparkle in daylight!!

* star out of ****

Saturday, September 12, 2009

xxx stars are people, too

You've gotta check out this blog: Becoming Jennie.

Its about an ex-adult film star's road from sex addict to sobriety.

Not much of a point to this blog, but to display an interesting person's daily struggle to walk the straight-and-narrow.

That, and to continually be amazed about how interesting people can be.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"You Lie!" Or: The new low in this country's national discuorse - and how to recapture our naton's sanity

I've gotta give Pres. Obama credit: He's going to stick to coaxing the better angels of America's nature and trust that there are some lawmakers on the other side of the aisle. I personally don't believe that the current batch of Republican lawmakers have any interest in working with him on health care reform, but I have been wrong before, and if this is the road Obama wants to go down on, then i'll trust that he and his administration knows what they're doing.

Having said that, Let me get right to the point of this new post: By now, mostly all of you know who this idiot is on the left: Joe Wilson the representative of South Carolina's 2nd district; also known as the man who shouted out "You lie!" during the middle of the President's Address to Congress.

Two thought were going through my mind when Joe opened his big trap: 1. "This is an Address to Congress, not a fucking town hall meeting!", and 2. "This character's gonna become a martyr for the conservative movement across the nation." And they didn't disappoint.

The reason why Wilson rudely interrupted the President's speech? Obama said in his speech that illegal immigrants would not qualify for credits for the health care plan. And he was right.

The President's seemingly simple statement that "the reforms I am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally" is not hard to check. In the Senate Finance Committee's working framework for a health plan, which Obama's speech seemed most to mimic, there is the line, "No illegal immigrants will benefit from the health care tax credits." Similarly, the major health-care-reform bill to pass out of committee in the House, H.R. 3200, contains Section 246, which is called "NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS."

So not only did Joe rudely interrupt the Commander-in-Chief, he himself, lied about calling Obama a liar!

But i'm dead certain Joe knew that going in. In the age of Obama and the changing of the nation, facts and well-reasoned debates have taken a backside to which any ignorant relic of the Jim Crow era can grab a soapbox and a bullhorn and yell for all to hear, "OBAMA IS A GOD-DAMN SOCIALIST!" Instead of letting cooler heard prevail, we have a cynical, narcissistic talk show host in Glenn Beck who rises to power by making outrageous and out-of-left-field claims about the events of the day and mis-characterizing events and news-makers to fit Rupert Murdock's - and a party's - agenda; and shameless political opportunists like Sarah Palin, exploiting her youngest child to scare Americans by saying that her down-syndrome baby, Trig, will be at the alter of a group of bureaucrats who'll decide if he lives or dies; and disagreements over policy have turned into shouting matches at town-hall meetings. To put it simply: in this age, down has become the new up.

But as I look upon this sad state of discourse in American politics, and in America itself, I come to remember which matters the most: we have been down this road before. From woman's suffrage, to civil and voting rights; from the formation of unions to the formation of Social Security, we've had spirited debates about these issues, we have fought over the issues, some had shed their own blood to have their ideals realized, and many have tried to delay to make the changes necessary to strengthen our nation and to move our country forward. But, in the end, we passed Social Security, formed the unions, gave minorities and women the right to vote, strengthened anti-discrimination laws in the workplace and in businesses, and we are a better country because we met these challenges head on, despite the opposition, the cynicism, and challenges that threatened to intimidate our citizens.

We have been down this road before. We can (finally) pass health care reform if we allow ourselves to ignore the charlatans and the naysayers, and go forth with a determination that we can, and will reform our broken system for the betterment of our country, and for the next generation not yet born.

Allow me to quote U2 frontman Bono: "We're one, but we're not the same / we've got to carry each other, carry each other."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pres. Obama to address nation's children on the first day of school? Don't tread on our children, you socialist bastard!

Tomorrow, kids all over the nation will be going back to school; grumbling, tired, wishing the summer that was 2009 didn't have to end on Labor Day. Those of us who remember the first day of school might remember the formula: say hi to all the friends who we've missed because they were traveling for the summer, get acquainted with new students, go to our new classrooms, meet our new teachers, watch the 44th President of the United States give an address to us about the importance of an education and persevering in school, learn the classroom rules (which is mostly a waste of time, because the classroom etiquette is the same in pretty much as the classrooms)...Say what now?!

Yes, President Obama will be talking the children, first thing tomorrow morning.

But some believe Obama's speech to the younglings is nothing more than a dastardly plot to force his liberal, Marxist agenda down the throats of America's youth, thus bringing us one step closer to a socialist nation! If this is allowed to happen, we'll be telling our grandchildren what real freedom in America used to be like...if we're still allowed to talk about what freedom used to be at all...

So what are these proud, non-backward thinking, and most certainly non-racist patriots going to do? I'll tell ya what these fine, angry, overweight rednecks won't do! They're not going to try and make a non-controversial act become a polarized spectacle that further embarrasses the political discourse in this country and makes the conservative base of the GOP look like they deserve to be in a mental asylum, rather than a viable political party! Wait a minute...

The public-school systems in both Collier and next-door Lee counties, a conservative pocket in southwest Florida that includes Naples, announced on Thursday, Sept. 3, that their students won't be seeing Obama's speech..."We tend to be very conservative here," says Dean. "This President is extremely liberal, and we worry that he's leading us to socialism."

School districts in at least half a dozen other states have made similar decisions not to air the President's talk. In one of those states, Minnesota, Republican governor and possible 2012 presidential aspirant Tim Pawlenty called the speech "uninvited" and voiced concerns about its "content and motive."

In Oklahoma, state senator Steve Russell rivaled Florida's Greer for hyperbole, calling Obama's talk "something you'd expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein's Iraq."

Nope! No blatant use of exploiting people's misguided fears and intolerance to further divide and make it into another us-vs-them debate! After all, the Republicans are only looking out for the children.
More from the article:

Asked if the Collier school district would have made the same ruling about webcast "logistics" if Obama's Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, had proposed making a similar speech to U.S. students, a spokesman for Thompson told TIME, "exactly." But Dean calls it "a moot question" because "I don't think President Bush would have ever done it. He understood that this sort of thing starts in the home." But when reminded that Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, broadcast a similar speech to the nation's pupils, Dean says, "That was different. It was, if I remember, largely a say-no-to-drugs speech."

See? Pappy Bush was doing it to tell the children to not use drugs, while Obama is indoctrinating the kids the wicked ideas of taking personal responsibility for themselves in school! It's not like the GOP would ever preach that kind of leftist crap onto ordinary American citizens!

This whole episode would be side-splitting hilarious, if it weren't for the fact that the party that loves to stake claims on patriotism, Christianity, and putting country first, from the moment Pres. Obama stepped foot in the Oval Office eight months ago, have been anything but what they claim the GOP is all about. The Republicans are about one thing these days: bringing the president down by any - and all means - necessary, and if that means the country goes down with Barack Obama, so be it. As long it gets them back into power, the ends will always justify the means. Its one thing to be "the loyal opposition." It's another thing altogether to scare the base into doing the party's dirty work.

Shawne Merriman, what the fuck?!

Seriously, dude.

SAN DIEGO (AP)—San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman(notes) was arrested Sunday and accused of choking and restraining his girlfriend, reality TV star Tila Tequila, as she tried to leave his Southern California home.

Tequila, 27, signed a citizen’s arrest warrant, charging Merriman with battery and false imprisonment, San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Gary Steadman said.

Deputies responded about 3:45 a.m. to Merriman’s house in Poway, north of San Diego, after a woman called to say she was choked by the player and physically restrained when she had tried to leave, according to a Sheriff’s Department statement.

Merriman, 25, was taken into custody. Authorities declined to say whether he had posted bail or been released, pending an afternoon news conference.

Tequila was taken to a hospital. Her condition was not immediately available.

Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, is best known for “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila,” which ran for two seasons on MTV. The bisexual dating show featured men and women vying for Tequila’s affections. She has also modeled for Playboy and other men’s magazines.

Scott E. Leemon, an attorney for Tequila, said in a statement that neither she nor her representatives would comment publicly on the incident.

Merriman’s agent, Tom Condon, said he hadn’t heard about the arrest when contacted by The Associated Press.

Chargers general manager A.J. Smith didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Great, just what the Bolts need before heading into Week 1.
I don't know what disgust me more: the fact that #56 put himself, and the team, in a bad situation before the opener, or the fact that the fans are blaming his girlfriend for this mess. Tila Tequila may be some skanky reality TV whore, but ti's never alright say stuff like 'choke that fukkkin ho!' or 'beat that bitch' or whatever. Come on, Charger Nation, we're better than that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Shut the fuck up, Mr. West!

I love Kanye West. The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation are all some of the best rap albums put out this decade, but after watching this interview, he just needs to shut the fuck up and come back down to earth.