Thursday, February 26, 2009

Movie Review: Fanboys

Fanboys (Kyle Newman, 2009)

Seeing Fanboys at the Uptown Birmingham 8 was like returning to the scene of the crime. That's where I saw The Phantom Menace on opening day back in 1998. No, I didn't camp out. There were no pup tents set up on the side of Old Woodward.

If you've ever seen a road comedy movie, then you've seen Fanboys. It takes the lesser parts of Todd Phillips's Road Trip and Blair Hayes's Bubble Boy mixed with Peter Haynes's 2003 short film Fanboys which shares the same name and a similar plot.

Feeling like it was written over a drunken weekend, Fanboys follows a paint by numbers plot about four friends who vow to make a trek from Ohio to the Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of The Phantom Menace as one of them, Linus (Chris Marquette), has terminal cancer. Along the way they square off against Trekkies (who apparently don't get along with Star Wars fans, and vice versa -- news to me), eat peyote with Danny Trejo (a regular feature of road trip films), and run into a host of actors making less-than-subtle cameos (Ethan Suplee, Carrie Fisher, William Shatner, etc).

As to be expected, the dialog is laden with Star Wars references, though Dutch (Dan Fogler) doesn't limit himself to just the trilogy; he's all over the map with pop culture catchphrases ("Wonder Twin powers, activate!"). This and the Star Wars sound effects can get a bit tiresome and the relationship between Linus and bland best pal Eric (Sam Huntington) can get a bit winsome.

Eric is our milquetoast protagonist, the kind of lame asshole that often has to rediscover what's important in life in these kinds of movies. Yet, Eric's relationship with his car salesman dad (Christopher McDonald) and brother (David Denman) just kind of fade into the background, only popping up to move the story along. Same goes for the few appearances of Zoe (Kristen Bell) the too-hot geek girl who's got a thing for fourth friend Windows (Jay Baruchel). I'm not sure if Windows's nickname is a reference to the operating system or to the character from John Carpenter's The Thing.

While the irony of the situation -- that these guys are making such efforts to see a film that will disappoint them beyond measure -- isn't lost on film (Seth Rogen shows off his sweet Anakin Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks back tattoo) but the final message that the real magic of Star Wars was the heart that the original films despite the "bad" special effects and puppets (rather than CGI abominations) gets lost in the static.

Update to The People Vs. George Lucas

A few days ago I posted the teaser for The People Vs. George Lucas. Being just a little interested in this subject matter, I shot a note off to the filmmakers via their website with some links to previous pieces about the Star Wars films I've written.

Believe it or not but director Alexandre O. Philippe shot me a note and he's interested in interviewing me for the project. Now it's just a matter of either getting to where he's at, meeting somewhere, or finding someone to tape me while I jaw on like some friggin' big shot about the heresy of which Lucas has engaged in the last quarter century (from 1983 on). Wish me luck!


Luck of the draw or conspiracy? Looks like Nick Fury and Yatterman went to the same school of modeling. You know, I never saw those two in the same room together, ever!

More of Faraday's Journal...

Of course I was thrilled last night to see some familiar images on Lost that we've only seen before in Daniel Faraday's journal. Hanging out at the Hydra station was the map Faraday was using to navigate the island as well as the same space-time map that I've obsessed about... repeatedly.

Here's the original image as seen in Faraday's Journal:

And here's the map that Caesar found at the Hydra station:

I thought for sure that these weren't the same maps with one on lined notebook paper and the other on a clean (and bigger) sheet of parchment. Indeed, as one commenter pointed out, they are one and the same:

I'm going back to revisit the circles of Faraday's various maps to compare them to the new, improved map over at I'm just not able to line up these as well with this revised map and am wondering if it's the circles or the map that's the trouble:

I think that the layout of the stations probably looks closer to this:

It's remarkable how different the above maps of the island are from the one found at The biggest difference seems to be the placement of the Hydra station island.

It's also been suggested by my pal Jeff Simko that these circles have nothing to do with the configuration of the stations but that they represent the "pockets of energy" that Eloise Hawking is tracking down at the Lamppost Station. This is tougher to "prove" as there aren't too many good screenshots of the world map Eloise is using. Here's one from with some circles from Daniel's map laid over it:

A better overlay can be seen with Hawking's computer:

Not an exact match... but close at times.

Likewise, an old friend, Terry May, volunteered that these may be tied into the "Vile Vortices". This idea has been kicked around for a while. There are a couple nice write ups about it here: Smoke and Mirrors: Decoding Lost and here.

I also wanted to note that there's an interesting theory over at about Daniel Faraday and Stuart Radzinsky being the same person -- the door map and Faraday's map lining up so well. It's possible though I think Radzinsky is going to show up one of these days soon.

The Sawyer Son of a Bitch compilation:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

God's Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick

Even if you don't know the name, you've certainly seen the conspicuous 3-by-5-inch pamphlets at the local shopping mall, bowling alley, library or phone booth. These so-called "Chick Tracts" are the brainchild of comic artist Jack T. Chick...READ MORE

Buy From

Skullcrusher Mountain by Jonathan Coulton

Heard this song on Sound Opinions this week. It's entirely too cute and reminds me a lot of Dr. Horrible's SingAlong Blog.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Movie Review: Graphic Sexual Horror

Graphic Sexual Horror (Barbara Bell & Anna Lorentzon, 2009, USA)

That there can be beauty found in torture proves to be the troublesome core of Graphic Sexual Horror, a look at, a website that pushed the boundaries via its use of extreme bondage and anguish. The brainchild of PD (real name Brent Scott), featured a cavalcade of attractive women undergoing myriad torments. These wild scenarios were only limited by the fertile and frightening imagination of PD and his website’s subscribers.

Dairy, Insex, 2003. Stone wall with women in metal cages at the farm.Directors Lorentzon and Bell (author of Stacking in Rivertown) document the rise and fall of the flagitious empire via frank interviews with several key players both behind the scenes and in front of the camera as well as footage that entertained patrons of the website. Though these clips often resembled scenes and a serial killer’s fantasies, the models were stripped of their names, armed with safewords, paid for their trouble, and often sought out PD to session with the ingenious sadist. When things went beyond where they should have, as was apt to happen with such extreme scenes, the results could be fairly scary or fascinating, as shown by the scene of a model reacting adversely to having her face slapped.

Eventually, was brought down by a combination of problems inside (PD supporting a spooky drug addict) and out (the Homeland Security office pressuring the companies that provided merchant accounts to the site). During its run, however, the site gave new beauty to agony that shocked some but pleasured many more.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Roger Ebert Has Looked Better

Darth Roger

Lost Thoughts: (John) 316

A few thoughts:

I'm glad that Kate didn't bring Aaron back to the Island since Claire was pretty clear about that in one of Kate's "dreams" (can we be sure that was a dream or it might have been a "memory" a la Desmond getting a memory from Faraday). I keep wondering if she left Aaron with Sawyer's daughter...

I thought it was a nice plug with Hurley reading "Y: The Last Man" (en Espanol) – "Y" was written by Brian K. Vaughn who has written a few episodes and is now producing the show. This is a great book, BTW. It's about a guy named Yorick Brown (his Dad was a big Shakespeare fan) who is… the last man on earth. The only survivor (apart from his pet monkey) of an "incident” that wiped out all people with a Y chromosome. Ironically, Yorick is trying to get to Australia to find his girlfriend. Kind of a reverse of the 815 flight from Australia.

Thanks to Steve Conroy for pointing this out to me. I love this kind of stuff:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Top 50 Albums

I held out for weeks, so I was on the downside of the adoption curve, for the "25 Things" note on Facebook. Yet, I was an early adopter for the new "Top 40 Albums" one. This is due to me thinking the other day, "I've been meaning to make a list of my top albums for a while..." This confluence of events finally prompted me to do so.

I didn't abide by the rules of the meme (though I tried to), here's my list plus a few others:

  1. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  2. Public Image LTD – Metal Box
  3. The Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us
  4. Pop Will Eat Itself – This is the Day, This is the Hour, This is This
  5. The Pixies – Doolittle
  6. Hedwig & The Angry Inch (Soundtrack)
  7. Velvet Underground & Nico – Velvet Underground & Nico
  8. Komeda – The Genius of Komeda
  9. Aphex Twin – Richard D. James Album
  10. Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger
  11. Bauhaus – In the Flat Field
  12. Beck – Midnight Vultures
  13. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
  14. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin III
  15. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
  16. Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players – Vintage Slide Collections from Seattle
  17. Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones
  18. The Smiths – Louder than Bombs
  19. The Dwarves – Blood, Guts, & Pussy
  20. Babes in Toyland – Fontanelle
  21. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
  22. Nirvana – Nevermind
  23. The Sex Pistols – Nevermind the Bullocks
  24. The Ventures – Ventures in Space
  25. They Might Be Giants – They Might Be Giants
  26. The White Stripes – Redd Blood Cells
  27. Dean Gray – American Edit
  28. The Kleptones – Night At The Hip-Hopera
  29. Senor Coconut – El Baile Aleman
  30. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Soundtrack)
  31. White Zombie – La Sexorcisto (Devil Music Vol. 1)
  32. Devo – Are we not men? We are Devo!
  33. Prince – Purple Rain (Soundtrack)
  34. Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell
  35. L7 – Smell the Magic
  36. Kiss – Destroyer
  37. The Crystal Method – Vegas
  38. Jane's Addiction – Nothing's Shocking
  39. John Linnell – State Songs
  40. James Kolchalka Superstar – Money Vs. Robot
  41. Arthur Brown – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
  42. Abba – Abba Gold
  43. Run DMC – Raising Hell
  44. Doktor Kosmos – Cocktail
  45. Weezer – Weezer (The Blue Album)
  46. Government Issue – You
  47. Prong – Beg to Differ
  48. Sinead O'Connor – The Lion and the Cobra
  49. Lords of Acid – Lust
  50. The Doors – Morrison Hotel

My criteria for the above list was fairly simple; albums that never fail to please me.

It's funny to think that when I was younger, I used to judge people quite a bit on what they listened to. "How can you like that band? I don't think I can like you, now." I've grown a lot more tolerant in the years since high school. Even if you like a shitty band... we can still be friends.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cashiers du Cinemart 2.0

I'm all like Web 2.0 and sh*t. Yeah, I'm still using using Yahoo Groups for getting the word out about updates but I've also started a group on Facebook so folks can keep up with the goings on at Cashiers du Cinemart. There's a topic that may be of interest on the Discussion Board. Take a look and join up!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Copyright, Shmopyright

After fifteen years someone is finally questioning the copyright of Who Do You Think You're Fooling? There's a dispute filed on YouTube over my rights over the use of footage in this work. Seems a few days late and quite a number of dollars short.

Embedding has been disabled to make folks go to YouTube to see advertisements from Lion's Gate -- they're the shitbird company saying they own rights to Who Do You Think You're Fooling? at the moment. So, I threw this up on Facebook and we can hope it lives there successfully for a good, long time.

It's Just A Job... Five Days A Week

Friday, February 06, 2009

My Most Popular Posts

Sometimes web traffic statistics can be a hoot. I was just poking around in Google Analytics and found that my most popular posts in the years that I've been doing this blog have been:

  1. Faraday's Journal (1,095)
  2. Is Time Malleable? (658)
  3. Review of The Condemned (151)
  4. Symbicort TV Commercial (97)
  5. Going Full Retard (37)

This seems like a rather eclectic mix of media critique (Symbicort), movie reviews, and Lost theories. There are a lot of things that I've written/posted that I would have hoped to garner better numbers but the people are fickle...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

New Reviews @ Metro Times

The Minoru Kawasaki Collection
The films of Minoru Kawasaki are unrepentantly silly. Featuring masked wrestlers, crazed monsters and soccer-playing crabs, Kawasaki has a flair for the absurd. Synapse Films recently unleashed three of Kawasaki's most outrageous films on the American public. READ MORE

Set in 1972 Los Angeles, Viva is a heavily saturated and slightly sedated homage to Radley Metzger's winning and slinky skin flicks. Writer-director Anna Biller stars as the titular Viva, a frustrated housewife who goes on a sexual odyssey with her best friend, Sheila. READ MORE