Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You call him Dr. Jones, Doll!

Keeping with the Summer blockbuster theme, although not music related, one of the summer's most anticipated movies (if not one of the decade's, maybe more) came out this past weekend: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find a pair of sneak preview passes for it, so we (the rest of my whip-totin', Fedora-wearing posse) got to see it last Monday- three days before it came out (I'm a little late on posting). Hell, I've been waiting almost 20 years since the last one came out...not that there weren't others waiting the same amount of time since The Last Crusade came out- there were. But I've been waiting over 2/3 of my life for this movie. There has never been another movie that I have waited for so long and anticipated so much as the new installment of Indi. Alas, in the last few weeks, it crept closer and closer into my hands just as the golden head in that Dr. Jones finally obtains in the opening scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark. And just as quickly as Indi grabs the idol and subsequently loses it, I realized that there is just no way that this movie, that I have been waiting for 19 years on, mind you, will in any way compare to the original three...and yes, that even includes Temple of Doom, you Naysayers.

(Why does everyone think Temple of Doom was terrible? I liked it. It's definitely the weaker of the original three, but c'mon now, it wasn't that bad. Y'all just like The Last Crusade because Sean Connery was in it. It was good, but, oh, forget it. I'll never win this one... Ironically, the episode of Family Guy on tv just referenced the ending of Temple of Doom with Michael Eisner attempting to pull Peter's heart out like Mola Ram tried to do to Indi's on the broken rope ladder on the side of the cliff...See, it can't be that bad. Had I become a professional wrestler, the heart pullout would have been my finishing move. I would have just had to figure out how to simulate pulling a heart out of my opponents' chests and make it look halfway real. I never could figure out what my wrestling name would have been though.)

Back to Indiana Jones and the Ridiculously Long Titled Movie Name. Obviously, going into the movie, one has to know that it wasn't going to be as good as the originals. It simply can't be. But one can hope. We sure can. Just go ahead and dismiss the memories of those George Lucas atrocities that were Star Wars Episodes 1-3, especially Episode 1's CGI and Jar Jar Binks, and the piss-poor acting in Episode 2...There are some of Lucas's cute CGI family-friendly, laugh-grabbing and cute and cuddly animals. Thankfully, Lucas and Spielberg kept it to a minimum, so all is not lost. However, after a great opening sequence, as is the case with all the Indi movies, one begins to remember what they are watching: A 65-year old Indiana still out rumbling around like he did in the '30s versus those damned Nazis. But this time it's in the '50s and our hero is taking on the Ruskies. Incidentally, with the movie being set in the 1950s, Indi isn't 35 anymore. But he pulls it off better than I thought he would as he doesn't try to make the audience believe that he is still the young, swashbuckler of yonder year: He jokes about misjudging the distance of jumps and swinging on his rope as he misses his target and lands in the enemy's car. He also talks about getting old, in his classic Indi sarcasm and tongue in cheek fashion that only he (and Han Solo) can deliver.

Not to give the movie away, because you should definitely go see this- It's Indiana Jones after all. But this isn't your daddy's Indi, or your childhood memories of a young(er), rougher, and (just as) daring Harrison Ford for that matter. (Side note= when I'm 65 and I look like Harrison Ford does, everything will be ohhh-kayyyy. I promise.) Indi is older, but presumably wiser. He reluctantly takes on the young "Mutt" as his sidekick/protege of sorts, played by Shia LaBeouf, who pays homage to Marlon Brando in The Wild One in his first scene as he rides in on his bike. It's almost as if Spielberg stole a scene out of The Wild One. He meets up, strangely, with Marion Ravenwood (played by Karen Allen, who, sadly, is looking a wee bit rougher than when we last saw her in '81 in Raiders). We all can't age as gracefully as Harrison. Oh yes- Cate Blanchett is in it too, as one of the villains (the main one). She plays a good Russian, but all I could think of was Bob Dylan dressed up as a nerdy scientist woman in the mid-1950s in a Russian army outfit and a black wig on speaking with a fake Russian outfit.

My buddy and fellow poster VEGAS had to keep reminding me to "just buy into it and it will be alright". I tried. I guess I did. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong. It had all the things that need to be in an Indiana Jones movie- action, adventure, humor, sex/love (old people need it too), a whip and a hat, humor, snakes and the unbelievable that becomes believable. But I just can't get into aliens and outer space beings. Crystal skulls intrigue me- I have been watching all of these timely specials on The History Channel and the Indiana Jones documentaries on A&E (I think it was) that discuss the likeliness of Indi's quests and the reality of the crystal skulls. They all intrigue me. But I just couldn't get into the alien aspect of the movie as it progressed. You'll have to see it to understand, because I won't divulge anymore, as I want you to go and see the movie because it's good. You should. You owe it to that secret archaeologist deep down in you...and to Indi, as he may need you to help him out in his next adventure...

Side notes:
  • Shia LaBeouf is on Jimmy Kimmel tonight
  • We did not actually dress up like Indiana Jones to go to the movie...but that's not to say that there weren't others there that were dressed up though. (Those that dressed up for the the movie have never kissed a girl, by the way)
  • As mentioned in the first paragraph, this is one of the most anticipated films of the summer...However, someone told me there was a new Batman coming out sometime too, that is supposedly gaining alot of attention and anticipation? I haven't heard anything about this. Please let me know if you know anything about this...PLEASE!
  • And if you think this movie is better than Temple of Doom, I don't know what to tell you.

Everything Louder Than Everyone Else

Ok, so the summer box office blitz is off and running...With the passing of Memorial Day and the release of (finally!) Indiana Jones and the Incredibly Long Titled Movie, summer is officially here for the box office.

However, there is one movie that we will all have to wait 'til next year to see unfortunately... because I can't. I saw this this morning. Is it too good to be true? I don't know. Will it actually come to fruition? Maybe. Will it be shown in the theatres (here...in Knoxville *sigh*)? Ehh, probably not. But with in this day and age of technology and the ol' inter-web, as well as (il)legal downloading, I'm sure we'll all have the chance to see this film that is destined for greatness.

How could it not be?

So, what film you ask? Lemmy, the Movie. Yes, friends. You read it right. Lemmy. The Movie.

Old Snaggletooth himself. The Motorhead of all Motorheads. Now, after watching the trailer, it's hard to argue that there's not a bigger "rockstar" in the world, especially after watching other big rockstars proclaim it themselves: Dave Grohl, Slash, Alice Cooper, Mick Jones, etc... C.C. DeVille, anyone?

But as Grohl (a personal hero of mine) said, "...Fuck Keith Richards..." amongst a few others, I thought about his statement. Yes, it is hard to argue with that. In a day where the biggest band in the world is comprised of all 60+ year olds, and the singer is an official Knight or Sir or whatever they call it back in the Motherland, it's hard to still consider them as dangerous as they once were. As the most over the top band in the world. As 'Rock N Roll' as they used to be. Sad, but true. "Keef" was in DISNEY'S Pirates of the Caribbean for God's sake.

But Lemmy is still Lemmy. Same old Lemmers. At 62, he's still plugging away, on his regular diet of Jack Daniels and smokes. Warts'n all. He's ugly. He's crude. He's haggard. He doesn't care. He doesn't apologize. And now Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski have teamed up to bring the masses what many have long known, and what many more hopefully will come to find out: Lemmy is a badass...not just a badass, but the badass. Lemmy's been doing it since the '60s (he was a roadie for Hendrix) and if you listen to Dave Grohl's snippets in the trailer, Grohl thinks that Lemmy's the "baddest motherfucker in the world" and he's been doing it the right way: not in Leer jets, not with supermodels, not as a knight. He's a rock n roll pirate; he's 49% motherfucker, 51% son of a bitch; he's the real deal.

As for the film, it's not slated for release until 2009, so we all have a little while to wait, but if the trailer is any indication, it will be worth the wait- unquestionably.

After all, it's Lemmy. The "baddest motherfucker of all time".


For your listening and viewing pleasure (turn these up LOUD!):

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Skip to my Lou

Disclaimer: If you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you should STOP reading immediately and pretend you never saw this post. I'm serious.

In the next 10 seconds, can you name more than 5 songs by the Velvet Underground?

Was your senior yearbook quote a line from a song off of Lou Reed's Transfomer album?

Do you think that the only music that is worthwhile comes from pale white men from big, cosmopolitan cities (New York) who supplement their vegan diets with coffee, red wine and cocaine?

Do you think Hank Williams and Johnny Cash are overrated?

Is your favorite movie I Heart Huckabees?

Do you find unrelenting beauty and artistic genius in paintings of Campbell's Soup Cans?

Again, if you answered yes to any of these questions, STOP READING NOW!!!! If you continue, you will hate me forever. I won't really care that you'll hate me forever because, well, you and I probably wouldn't have gotten along anyway so this will most likely save us a lot of trouble. But you also might get your feelings hurt, and while I can be a bit of a dick sometimes, I have no intention of hurting the feelings of people I don't even know.

On April 30, 2008 (last Wednesday) I had the opportunity to see Lou Reed in concert. It sucked. It's OK. Take a minute to pick yourself off of the floor, say a few Hail Jimi's to the rock gods for me and collect yourself a bit. In a show that lasted one and a half hours with a one song encore, I knew three songs. Count them. THREE. Sweet Jane, I'm Sticking With You (I only knew cause I remembered hearing it in the movie Juno), and Perfect Day. Now I understand that most artists are going to get sick of playing the same songs over and over, and I certainly didn't expect to hear Walk on the Wild Side or really any Velvet Underground songs (I can't believe out of all of them he chose I'm Sticking With You, and even introduced it as "A song from the hit movie Juno), but I listen to enough music, am a pedestrian enough Lou Reed/VU fan, and have enough pretentious friends that I should have known more than 3 damn songs. And in all honesty, I probably would have been OK with that had every other song he played not sucked more than the previous one. It wasn't until the middle of this show that I realized something, Lou Reed is a pretty shitty songwriter. Yes, I said it. Say another prayer for me.

Well I suppose that's a bit unfair. Lou Reed is an "artist," and by it's very nature art is a subjective medium whose quality is essentially defined and redefined by each individual patron, but from where I'm standing and listening, his songs pretty much blow. Here are some of the lyrics from his opening song, Mad:

Mad, you just make me mad
I hate your silent breathing in the night
Sad, you make me sad
When I juxtapose your features I get sad...

Dumb, you're dumb as my thumb
In the wistful morning you throw a coffee cup at my head
Scum, you said I'm scum
What a very lovely and feminine thing to do.

To me this sounds like something some artsy dude wrote for his Intro to Poetry class. I understand that on some level it might be cool to combine simple forms like "You're dumb as my thumb" with "In the wistful morning," or "When I juxtapose your features," but the bottom line is that it just sounds stupid, and being that music is (or at least should be) an auditory artistic medium, if something sounds bad, then it is bad. In fact, at one point during the show I looked over at the young lady that I was accompanying to the show (who was also MUCH more disappointed by the show both because she liked Lou Reed much more than me and because she paid for the tickets) and said, "You know there's a fine line between Lou Reed and Wesley Willis." While I admit that comparing a Rock Legend to a paranoid schizophrenic modern day minstrel/freak show (no offense is intended here, but because Willis's fan base was essentially college frat boys who laughed at him instead of with him, it's sadly no less true) is a stretch, I truly find more art in schizophrenic stream of consciousness blathering than I do in a seemingly intelligent man's purposeful pomposity. It seems to me that Willis's music is an outlet for him to keep his schizophrenic demons at bay, while the Almighty Lou Reed is essentially trying to be overwrought and weird just for the sake of being overwrought and weird. At this point I think I'll take I Whupped Batman's Ass over Ecstasy any day of the week.

Before I close I'd like to also add that I had the unbelievable pleasure of seeing Levon Helm (The Band) about a month before Lou Reed and I have already moved it into one of the top 3 shows I've ever seen. He played just as many Band songs as he did solo songs, and the solo songs he played were great. He interacted with the crowd, joked about his former drug use, and the crowd loved him and was dancing in the aisles the entire time. At the Lou Reed show I got the distinct feeling that the crowd was ready to explode with anticipation of such a "great" artist, but never really got the opportunity. Sure most people at the show walked out saying how wonderful it was, but I can't help but think that was only because they didn't want to be the only ones who thought it sucked. Well just know that I'm standing up for what must've been hundreds saying it sucked and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

You are free to begin telling me how stupid and ignorant I am. I'll be too busy rocking out with Levon Helm to care.