Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hit 'Em Up

Before we get to the worst film in the history of modern cinema I’d like to acknowledge the J-train subway conductor who sounds like Ving Rhames. Few things cheer up a dreary winter morning like imagining your subway conductor saying “Please stand clear of the closing doors…and wait for the Wolf who will be coming directly.”

That guy could put a smile on my face in the middle of a rectal exam.

And Now: & Thank you for coming to Lowes, sit back and relax, enjoy the show &:

About 45 minutes into Hitman, a soon-to-be victim of Agent 47 (i.e. Hitman), says “you think it’s done but it’s only just beginning,” the exasperation on the face of Agent 47 was matched and surpassed by the horror on mine. I knew he was right, I knew we had at least another hour left, but how was this possible, how could they expect so little from me while taking so much?

I had gone into Hitman with some serious reservations. I was suspicious because a good deal of money was spent on special effects and marketing but the producers had been unable to secure a big name actor for the lead roll. My reservations were further aroused when I was informed (about an hour before the movie) that it was based on a video game. There are two formulas that I find useful when predicting the quality of a film:

Lots of production money – big name actor = shitty flick
Video game movie – ninja turtles = shitty flick

And a new one after seeing Hitman:

Lots of production money – big name star – ninja turtles = bonding with fellow movie goers as thoughts of ritual suicide pass through our collective minds

Still at the outset of the film I was willing to give it a chance. I wanted to like Hitman, I wanted to relax and enjoy a Bond type film. I don’t mind suspending a bit of disbelieve, I liked The Transporter. But this shit was unbearable.

Absolutely unbelievable scenes:

1. Our hero, Agent 47, wears a suit and has a bar code tattooed on the back of his shaved head yet at no point does this arouse suspicion FROM ANYBODY. This premise might be acceptable if he spent his time in underground vampire clubs but he eats at nice restaurants and walks the street in squares in which Russian dignitaries are about to give speeches (and he’s about to assassinate them). I get the feeling somebody might notice a fellow like that.

2. At one point Agent 47 walks into an abandoned train car and is greeted by a man with a gun trained on him. He too has his gun trained on the man. Then, two other men step on the train and each of the four have two guns trained on them and two guns trained on other men. They all walk toward each other to the point that they are almost touching when Agent 47 announces “lets die like men” and they all drop their guns, pull out swords and fight to the death. The only problem is that they are all fighting him. If they were all going to fight him why did they have their guns trained on each other only seconds earlier? (Alright, that is not the “only problem” with that scene but it is a fundamental one). This movie was so stupid it made me wish I smoked crack.

3. A love interest develops between Agent 47 and a former concubine of the Russian President. I was going to elaborate, but that sentence stands on its own.

Other notes:

I’m fairly certain Agent 47’s name is an homage to Forty-seven Ronin but that might be giving the minds behind this way too much credit.

The film takes place in 5 or 6 different cities throughout Europe and Russia. Each time a scene opens in a new city the name of the city is typed along the bottom left of the screen in addition to the country with no other information. The amount of credit the film gives its audience is evidenced by the need to tell us that Big Ben is in London, England - Oh, I had thought London, Texas, and St. Petersburg? They have one of those in Russia too? Crazy shit man.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Beliefs Without Reason ie. Religion

Last week my friends and I were debating the relative merits of drawing a red X on the front door of the apartment building in which one resides. As far as I can figure the only real "pro" that it delivers is tremendous comedic value. The "cons" include frightening/horrifying neighbors, possible arrest and the unintentional demolition of ones own living quarters. I endorse virtually any and all behavior done in the name of comedy but I cannot endorse this act of vandalism.

The reason has nothing to do with jail or (the admittedly unlikely) destruction of my building. It's rather due to interpretation of the red X by my neighbors, and there is an ethical inconsistency in that logic.

Every action we take is subject to the interpretation of those whom the action affects. Every time we joke, every time we avoid eye contact, every time we make eye contact, every time we avoid small talk, every time we ask a question, anything, can be misperceived as a slight of some sort. So why would I have any reservations about a joke that poses no physical harm to other people (barring building demolition)?

I don't know.

But I do.

Why has our generation failed to produce any "cool" men?

I'm not sure I can live in world in which Shia LaBeouf and Ryan Gosling are the "it" guys. I have nothing against either of these two gentlemen, I'm not even sure if I've ever seen a movie with either of them in it. But I am certain that they are not cool in the way that Johnny Depp and Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen and Samuel L. Jackson were/are cool. What is it that has prevented our generation from producing the icons of cool the way that previous generations have? Why is the coolest man under the age of 40 - according to virtually any objective metric - the former lead singer of a boy band? We can't do better than that? I mean could we please find some one respectable for Scarlett Johansson to have sex with for Christ's sake.

The wonders of google analytics.

Google analytics allows me to track the amount of hits this blog gets. It's pretty neat and a useful tool to see if I'm writing anything that is worthwhile and/or what people enjoy reading about. It also allows me to see what terms people search on google in order to arrive at my blog. Below are some of the stranger searches that have resulted in hits:

stripper art portrait
tom tancredo's logo, button, or campaign slogan
cool asian cliques (the logic behind someone searching this escapes me entirely)
cliquish asians
passed out asian chick
older men than 60 y o fucking eachother (this one is particularly disturbing and I have no idea how this blog possibly shows up on that search)
garbage man party
dr. phil + sleezy
and last but certainly not least: bestiality bloger (yikes)

With that, enjoy being thankful.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Living to Kill Yourself

I saw a band called Scotland Yard Gospel Choir at a small venue in Brooklyn last night. When we walked in they were playing at a verrry slow tempo and it appeared as though the lead singer might hang himself with the microphone chord. Somehow by the end of the show the band was dancing around the stage and singing about their feelings for young men (quick aside - so the name of the song – which happens to be their second single – is, I never knew I could feel this way about a boy, (which I think is a joke) and the band is all dudes minus the bassist who’s a rail thin, punkish-looking rock chick. So it occurred to me that it would be funny for them to say the lyrics were written by her. Further aside – rail thin bassist chick was wearing a green tank top that said “This is the Irish Curse” and she also happened to be an overwhelmingly pail, red haired, freckled woman. If she has the gall to make fun of her own appearance to that extent she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen).

The show was free and more than worth the price of admission. The band reminded me of Belle and Sebastian but I thought that might just be because Belle and Sebastian are Scottish. Upon a bit of research this morning I discovered that they did in fact remind me of Belle and Sebastian (that linked review was fucking harsh btw).

After we went to a place called Trash Bar that served $4 PBR’s. Honestly, if your gonna serve $4 PBR’s you don’t get to call yourself Trash Bar. How about Overpriced Place That Sounds Badass but Really Isn’t Bar – fit that on your sign bitches.

Several entirely unrelated notes and some links:

Rail thin has funny cocaine connotations

I just finished Killing Yourself to Live and Of Mice and Men. Both were excellent. That John Steinbeck might be on to something.

This story has some pretty interesting implications for the future of media, I’m not sure where I stand.

RIP Norman Mailer, I wish more writers could paint a picture with a pen like you.

I had seen this link on Reddit and Digg for a couple days before finally watching the trailer. Not sure if it’s going to be good or funny or worthwhile but it’s certainly unique.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Not again.


Struggle, stretch, cold, cold, cold, piss...


Did I already use the shampoo?

Clothes. Day.

I walk fast, I'm late (most of the time), I pass people.

Subway. Read, try not to look at phone for time, look at phone for time.

8:58: "Last stop, Broad St."

I want to be the first one out of the subway. Not out of the car or train but out of underground. I derive a frightening amount of satisfaction from this success.

Walk. Fast.

Pass two asian cops, never seen two asian cops together in New York. I've seen two asian cops in Tokyo, are there two white cops in Tokyo?

Boots. God bless the women of New York.

Eyes. She gives'em, I squint.

Bagel, coffee. Same cart, same pleasantries, same order. I have cart brand loyalty.

$2.00, "Have a good day fellas"

Elevator, desk, 9:06.

Asleep 40 minutes ago?

Monday, November 12, 2007


My new recommendation/prediction/suggestion is for South Park to do an episode on social networking communities. Myspace and Facebook have taken over the social existences of people between the ages of 3 and 30 to a degree that is unfathomable (and certainly would have seemed completely preposterous no more than 5 years ago). The communities - the way they shape our lives, the way they alter our perspective of others, the way we try to alter others perspective of us, and the bizarre goups and events they spawn - are a comic goldmine just waiting for prospectors Stone and Parker. I would be very surprised if a full season goes by before they take on this topic.

Interesting note: I watched Saturday evening's Mosley/Cotto fight at a friend's place on 34th Street in Manhattan. He lives on the 13th floor and has a clear view of the Empire State Building from his living room (where we were watching the fight). The fight took place at Madison Square Garden and at one point a camera shot panned around the City and particularly the Empire State Building as Jim Lampley described what a wonderful night it was in New York. Lampley was correct in his description of the evening and the camera displayed the ESB in a radiant red towering over the city. The only problem was that the Empire State Building was yellow on Saturday night. Apparently the $50 pay-per-view subscribers offer up for fights only allows for stock filler footage. I guess we can't complain though, if boxing had structured its business model after the NFL or MLB they wouldn't even have money for that - oh wait, that's not true at all.

Movie thoughts: I saw No Country for Old Men last night. Afterwards I described it as Texas' American Gangster and although I haven't seen AG it seems to fit. The pacing is slow and at times painfully slow but the story is excellent and having read Cormac McCarthy's work in the past, I think the Coen's probably did the book justice. The cinematography is amazing, particularly to someone from the Northeast who isn't accustomed to seeing past the corner delivery truck. The ending is unexpected, original and unusual. All in all, I'd give it a Pitchfork score of 8.267.

Be back soon with the moronification of Yfbfb's reading interests.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Blog of Horses

Band of Horses show, Terminal 5, Manhattan's west side:

There were two opening acts. The first was a one man act (who's name I've forgotten and can't seem to locate - I'm nursing a pretty nasty hangover right now). There's just not enough going on in one-man acts to properly whet my musical appetite. Plus one-man acts seem suspicious. Is the man so intolerable that no one will be in his band? Does he have really bad BO? These questions distract from the music (plus he just wasn't very good).

The second act was a band called the Drones who were programmed to play very, very bad music. Every song they played had a bridge where they broke down to one (or no) instruments before building it back up. This technique is great in small doses (Radiohead's Let Down being the best example) but when done over and over it becomes a crutch.

On a non-music level this band also annoyed to the point of repulsion. The lead singer convulsed rather than danced, the bassist stood with her back to the crowd for most of the time and the lead guitarist looked like he was in a Dolce and Gabana ad. I do not like the Drones.

Then Band of Horses came out and hit like a six footer. These guys really love playing music together and it was very evident. Ben Bridwell, BoH's lead singer, said at one point that the show was the largest the band had ever done. This was not evident. They play a type of music that is well suited for large concert halls, anthemic songs like Funeral and Is There a Ghost seem like they were made with large venues in mind. And BoH performed them with an excitement at the big venue realization. If you haven't checked out BoH do so, otherwise we'll fistfight again.

Two strange occurrences:

Today I walked past a group of construction workers on Wall Street who were listening to NPR.

Yesterday there was a headline on that said "Jim Kelly breaks down Tom Brady's keys to success" - this is like Custer breaking down Patton's WWII plans - I'll find my analysis elsewhere, thanks.

I'm a Giant's fan so I particularly enjoyed this article but it's an excellent piece of sports writing.
Submitted by McNuts: One of the funniest opening lines to a "news" story in long while.

Monday, November 5, 2007

SNL Bites YFBFB: Makes Idea Less Funny

Last week I wrote that Saturday Night Live should do a skit in which they spoof the I-Phone commercials. On Saturday, SNL did a skit in which they spoof the I-Phone commercials. Of course true to form, the skit isn't nearly as funny as it could be but that's to be expected.

On another note, the other day I was sitting around with a couple friends, expanding our intellectual horizons, when I broke out Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and read through the series of 23 questions Chuck Klosterman claims to ask everyone he encounters to find if he can really love them. After picking through a couple randomly we came upon this one:

Genetic engineers at Johns Hopkins University (Yfbfb's alma mater) announce that they have developed a so-called "super gorilla." Though the animal cannot speak, it has a sign language lexicon of over twelve thousand words, an I.Q. of almost 85, and--most notably--a vague sense of self-awareness. Oddly, the creature (who weighs seven hundred pounds) becomes fascinated by football. The gorilla aspires to play the game at its highest level and quickly develops the rudimentary skills of a defensive end. ESPN analyst Tom Jackson speculates that this gorilla would be "borderline unblockable" and would likely average six sacks a game (although Jackson concedes the beast might be susceptible to counters and misdirection plays). Meanwhile, the gorilla has made it clear he would never intentionally injure any opponent.

You are commissioner of the NFL: Would you allow this gorilla to sign with the Oakland Raiders?

Most of the 23 questions are open-ended and leave a good amount of room for debate. Upon first read I had thought this was also a question worthy of debate, I was wrong.

The only answer that allows for cohesion of moral belief is that if the "super gorilla" is capable of reproducing (fertile children) with humans then he is allowed to play. If he is not, then he cannot. The reason this argument holds true is that if the "super gorilla" is capable of procreation with humans then he is not a gorilla at all, he is a human. And if he is a human than he must be afforded the same opportunities as other humans.

Those who would argue that the beast's origins in a laboratory disqualify him from competing in organized competitions have a difficult argument to make, one that is certainly fraught with moral and ethical peril (I love writing like a philosopher).

We live in a time when many children are more a product of the lab than they are of loving parents. The first "test-tube" baby was born in 1978, and since then there have been myriad advances in conception technology that allow children to be born to those who could not have children on their own. There is no debate as to whether these children would be allowed to compete in the NFL and there should not be.

Be back tomorrow with a review of Band of Horses at Terminal 5 from Sunday night.