Monday, July 30, 2007

No Iron Deficiencies This Weekend

Didn't I just post something about Iron Man last weekend? I'm probably getting close to reaching an acceptable quota with anyone reading this blog. "Yes - we get it! You want to see this movie. Can you please write about something - anything - else? (And post more often, while you're at it?)"

I hear you. But this past weekend was Comic-Con in San Diego, and that means the studios showing footage to get the geeks excited. (Yeah - I think they sell comic books there, too.)

Over the past couple of years, "exclusive" footage has been restricted to the audiences in San Diego. And that's fine with me. Attendees shelled out big money for convention passes, airline tickets, and hotel rooms, and deserve something for that effort. But I think some filmmakers are also smart enough to know that a little viral marketing can go a long way. So when footage of the Iron Man trailer that Jon Favreau brought to San Diego "leaked" onto the internet, I think he and Marvel knew exactly what the hell they were doing. Who am I to stand in the way of that?

Men shouldn't make the noise I made when I saw that suit of armor move on-screen. I already thought casting Robert Downey, Jr. was brilliant (though I'm already a big fan), but the footage confirms that sentiment. Tony Stark allows him to be what he's best at: playing a roguish charmer with a lightning-quick wit who just might be the smartest guy in the room. (Rent Zodiac this week on DVD, if you want another example.) It also allows him to try something I don't believe he's done before, which is play an action hero. Even if you can't see his face while he's wearing the suit, that's pretty cool.

EDIT (7/30): Well, poo. It looks like "The Man" (otherwise known as "Terms of Service") asserted his power and had the video taken down. That's just a damn shame. Dude, it was awesome. You should've seen it. (Ahem.) But if you're interested, Screen Rant posted a blow-by-blow description. Instead, I leave you with this.

Between Iron Man and Batman (with The Joker!), next year is going to rule, dude.

(Thanks to Matt for sending this over to me. Geek solidarity, baby. And I promise I'll try to write about something else this week.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Once: A Four-Sentence Movie Review

Going into Once, there were two reasons why I thought I might be disappointed: 1) It's received virtually universal praise from critics, which would surely unfairly raise my expectations, and 2) the word "musical" was being thrown around, and - though I probably like them more than I'm willing to admit - I'm not a big fan of those. Something I am willing to admit is that I'm a sucker for an unconventional romance, and a story where two people fall in love (or do they?) through musical expression definitely qualifies. This isn't a "musical," in the sense that the story stops for song-and-dance numbers or characters sing dialogue (which would be what I hate about some musicals), but there are scenes in which entire songs are performed, and that is the story for the two lead characters. The story ends in the only way it really should, and you are an extremely strong person if you don't run right to a music store or your computer to get the soundtrack after watching this movie.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Talk to the Iron Man Hand

I've already said my piece on the Iron Man movie, and should probably leave it at that until the thing hits theaters. But if Marvel is going to keep releasing cool photos to whet my geek appetite, I won't be able to help getting excited again.

So maybe this is a dumb photo if you're not into Iron Man, or you're wondering what the hell Robert Downey, Jr. is doing in a movie like this. But if you're a fan of both, this might get some butterflies fluttering for you.

I guess this is a weekend placeholder until I can scratch out some more ramblings. (And I have to say, after reading the comments for that Transformers post, I'm getting more of an itch to write non-sports stuff again.) Oh, and here's another Iron Man poster, if you haven't seen it.

(via The Movie Blog)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

So Funny 'Cuz It Hits So Close

This is almost three months old, but I just noticed it today while reading The Onion. And damn, if it didn't make me cringe with familiarity.

If Someone Wanted To Publish My Blog Entries For Money, I Wouldnt Say No

The Onion

If Someone Wanted To Publish My Blog Entries For Money, I Wouldn't Say No

Let me make one thing clear right off the bat: I started my blog because I needed an outlet for my thoughts and feelings during the 2004...

Of course, I'm nothing like that guy because I have a better haircut. And I wear glasses. I just, you know, wanted to see if I could really embed the headline in my blog like The Onion said I could.

But if any major metropolitan newspaper wanted to offer me a film critic's gig based on "Four-Sentence Movie Reviews" (We'd have more space for ads! It's brilliant!), I'm pretty sure I'm available...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Transformers: A Four-Sentence Movie Review

I can't say Michael Bay gets a bad rap because he's made some rather awful movies (Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys II), but at least you know you'll get a great-looking - though possibly incoherent - action movie that will assault your eyes and ears, and I kind of like that. Transformers might be the best film he'll ever make, because it allows him to shoehorn virtually anything and everything that guys want from their action movies into two-and-a-half hours: jets, helicopters, machine guns, missiles, explosions, Bernie Mac, fast cars, big trucks, laughs, high-speed collisions, burly brawls, violent (though non-human) death, jokes, hot babes, and giant #@$%ing robots!!! Don't snicker at that last thing either, because if you were a nerdy kid in the 80's (I'm raising my hand), giant robots were about as cool as it got until girls at school began to grow boobies. I'm sure if I were to see this movie again, all of the plot holes, story flaws, completely unnecessary subplots, contrived comedy sequences, and occasional inability to discern giant #$@%ing robot from giant #@$%ing robot might make me cringe, but when it had me for the first time, both my inner 12-year-old and current 34-year-old (ugh) were totally blown away.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sicko: A Four-Sentence Movie Review

One thing that I've always admired about Michael Moore's films, something that always made me want to watch anything he made, was his willingness to ask tough questions and confronting executives with the consequences of their decisions. Think about him trying to ask Roger Smith why GM was closing its plant in Flint, or bringing a Columbine victim to KMart headquarters, asking for a refund on the ammunition still lodged in his body. Sicko gave Moore the opportunity to show his fearlessness once again, to take someone who had been victimized by his or her health care provider, someone who had lost a loved one because a treatment wasn't covered by insurance, and confront a CEO at Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, or any other big business insurance company with the pain and loss that their policies caused. Instead, Moore concocts a contrived stunt like taking 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for health care, which is mildly entertaining but doesn't provide any real solution or make anyone answer for their actions, and that is truly disappointing.

UPDATE: Following up on an explosive appearance on "The Situation Room" yesterday, Michael Moore is scheduled to appear on "Larry King Live" tonight with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who's disputed some of the claims and suggestions in Sicko. That could be some good TV, my friends.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Watch Out For the Steve Carell Phone Prank

My friend Eric Harthen entertained morning radio listeners in Detroit for years (you might recognize his work from his time at Mojo In the Morning or as one of Purtan's People), and is now doing his thing in Los Angeles land. He has a blog at that details his new radio gig, complete with pictures of the various celebrity guests he's coerced into posing with him.

Eric just posted a gag that might appeal to any fans of Steve Carell and The Office, and since I spent much of the past year following the show for the "That's What She Said" podcast, I thought a link to it would fit. It's a series of phone pranks in which Eric only responds with assorted Steve Carell audio clips. Maybe not quite as funny as the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger prank calls, but it's good for a few laughs, especially when it gets someone to swear.

I'm still not going to see Evan Almighty, though. Just so you know.

▪▪ Since this post is vaguely Steve Carell-related, and I mentioned the "TWSS" podcast, I feel like I should leave a note (not an "announcement," because I'm just not that important) that I won't be co-hosting the show with Matt anymore. Matt posted something about it on the "TWSS" blog page earlier this week, so I'll link to that.

I really enjoyed recording the podcast and corresponding with those who listened to it. I don't know if anyone actually followed my posts from here to the podcast, but if you did, I appreciate you doing so. A handful of listeners have stopped over here on occasion, and I hope you continue to do so, because I'd love to keep in touch.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gorging Ourselves on Wieners is America's Birthright!

At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I didn't think it was too big a deal that a Japanese dude held the world record (53 3/4) for eating hot dogs. I guess I was just awed by Takeru Kobayashi's magnificent gift for scarfing down sausages. If somebody wanted to do that to himself... hey, we all have our different callings in this life, right?

But it didn't quite seem right that an American couldn't eat more hot dogs than anyone else. I mean, if there's one thing we should be good at, it's shoveling down tubes of unhealthy meat parts. How many of us did that yesterday? I'm not raising my hand, only because I sadly had no cookouts to attend, and even more sadly, I am currently without grill.

Thanks to Joey Chestnut, who the hilariously/disgustingly hyperbolic ESPN announcers called a "hero," the days of finishing second in hot dog annihilation are over. The 23-year-old Californian inhaled 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes (that's one every 11 seconds) to dethrone Kobayashi and reclaim the title of "Guy Who Can Eat a Lot of [insert item here]" and the Mustard Yellow Belt for the nation celebrating its independence yesterday. What were you doing when you were 23, bucko?

66 hot dogs, man. Eating 66 of anything seems kind of revolting, though I'm sure I've unwittingly done it a few times in my life. This morning, I ate 26 almonds, which I read is the ideal amount to eat in a day, and I don't really feel like eating any more almonds today.

In fairness to Kobayashi, however, the dude might have been playing hurt. There was some doubt as to whether he'd participate in this year's Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest because of a sore (arthritic?) jaw (Occupational hazard, I imagine) and recent wisdom tooth extraction. After help from a chiropractor(?) and acupuncturist, however, Kobayashi manned up to try and defend his title against his newest challenger.

Was the jaw the difference in the three additional hot dogs Chestnut was able to consume? Maybe, although Kobayashi apparently had some difficulty keeping that last one in, but the rules say as long as it doesn't hit the floor, it's all good.

"Kobayashi appeared to spew hot dog out of his mouth at the end, but caught it in the air and clamped his hands to his mouth, which kept the hot dogs in play, so to speak..."

You're not eating lunch as you read this, are you? I think I'm about to experience some "reversal of fortune" myself. I think I'll be eating fruit the rest of the day. Maybe blueberries and raspberries, in honor of our new American hero.

Deadspin was live on the scene, and posted a "plausibly live" blog, complete with photos.

And The Fanhouse has footage of Kobayashi's "reversal of fortune," which reportedly won't be seen in ESPN's re-broadcast of the contest tomorrow night.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Can You Be As Cool As Stan Bush, Michael Bay?

For all the geeking out I do over movies that capitalize on my nostalgia for the comic books and cartoons of my youth, I haven't fawned over Transformers too much.

Maybe it's because I was more of a G.I. Joe kid. Although I really loved the Transformers toys I had. I was fascinated with how all the different parts bent and folded from a car into a robot. I'd better stay away from Toys 'R Us or Target, because I kind of miss those toys, and the new ones coming out for the movie might be cooler. Or maybe they won't be. Those old ones were die-cast metal, baby!

Or it could be that I've been pretty disappointed with some of the movies I've been really hyped up to see recently. Can Transformers really be as cool as it looks? (And I've looked a little bit, while trying to avoid the copious amounts of clips available online.)

It's not a Michael Bay thing. I can be a movie snob, but I enjoy his stuff. I've never seen either of the Bad Boys flicks or Pearl Harbor, but I loved The Island. The dude can flat-out make an action movie, and they always look great.

So I'll probably fight the opening day crowds and catch a matinee tomorrow. And I'll be hoping Michael Bay came up with something nearly as cool as this:

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Remodeling the Kitchen, So to Speak...

I'm not a guy who likes to change things on the fly, merely just for the sake of change. In college, I remember sometimes coming home to a completely rearranged apartment, courtesy of my roommate's whim, and it usually didn't sit too well with me. And it wasn't just that there had been a change, and I like things to stay the same. But there seemed to be no good reason for the change, other than he was putting off studying for exams.

Having said that, I can certainly appreciate the need to shake things up for a new look or fresh approach. And the same ol', same ol' had gotten a little old here at Fried Rice Thoughts. I actually meant to do this a couple of months ago, but was a little bit intimidated by "the new" Blogger, and put it off.

However, after having some issues with merely tweaking the template last week, it became pretty apparent that it was time to go with some new hotness. Plus, my mind was pretty clear, having nothing else to do on a Saturday night with a few beers in me, and I didn't care about keeping stuff like those Amazon ads that just made the page load slower, so "the new" didn't seem so bad anymore. (And I feel like kind of an idiot for not figuring it out before.)

So I realize it's nothing to get too excited about. Essentially, it's just throwing on a new coat of paint. It's already been pointed out to me that I could use a logo or banner up top, but that's beyond my limited skill set. (However, if anyone is capable and willing, I have some ideas...) But the sidebars have been cleaned up a bit, with a few new additions and subtractions. And you can finally sort through posts by category now, though the list is hardly comprehensive, as I haven't gone back and labeled every one of them. (Given the sheer amount, I don't know if that'll ever get done.)

I noticed that I only posted seven times in June, which is way behind what I used to do when this was my only baby. (And as I could've expected, the readership has pretty much followed suit.) With Bless You Boys taking up so much of my time now during baseball season, posting every day here just isn't going to happen. But I'm hoping that the new look gives me a little bit of a jumpstart. I certainly had fun playing with the new layout, and it got me excited about posting some stuff (especially if it's not sports-related) again. Maybe not so much this week, because of the 4th of July, but definitely after the holiday. I got some four-sentence movie reviews yearning to be typed out.