Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Proud Brother, a Beaming Bride

I don't know how many times in my life I've really felt proud, full of that warm, tingly sensation in my chest that makes me just want to hug everyone in sight. Watching my mother become a U.S. citizen was certainly one instance. But as happy as I was for my mother that day, I still held some bitterness over the incompetent bureaucracy that kept her from getting there for so long. It just never should've been that difficult.

Maybe the first time I truly felt joyful without a hint of cynicism or resentment was last Saturday, when I walked my sister down the aisle on her wedding day.

I'm not sure I'll ever feel so proud, yet humble again. Actually, I kind of hope I never do, because what could possibly match this? Maybe if I ever have children, I'll find something to surpass this moment. It should've been her father - our father - taking her by the arm to the front of the church.

Did Lil' Sis and I walk down that aisle? It felt like we were on a conveyor belt. And I think it took every bit of discipline I had not to constantly turn my head from side to side, to thank all in attendance for sharing this moment with our families, to enjoy how everyone was looking so admiringly at the bride-to-be. I can't even imagine what she was feeling, what was going through her mind as she saw everybody stand up to greet her entrance, as she saw her husband-to-be, Brian, waiting at the altar.

Maybe this goes without saying, but it was an amazing day. Brian has a wonderful family, and to have them embrace Nicole, along with me and my mother, so openly and warmly was just overwhelming. We also had an unbelievable surprise when our uncle and aunt from California showed up unexpectedly. Technically, I suppose that made them wedding crashers, which makes it all the more hilarious. I couldn't even speak for a few minutes when I saw them, and my mother was moved to tears. I don't think I can properly express how grateful we are to them for making that trip.

The photo above was taken by a friend in attendance. The professional wedding images are now available at the photographer's website. I knew Jill Higgins did great work, but it just seems a little more fantastic when my sister is in the pictures. To have such memorable photos as a record of an unforgettable day is a privilege. So was being a part of a wonderful weekend.

Spiriting Your Interest?

I've posted several movie trailers based on comic books over the past year here (Are we really a week away from Iron Man?), but one popped up a couple of days ago that I'm wondering if the general movie-going audience will really be interested in.

Frank Miller's name has some pull with people now, based on Sin City and 300, and along with that, the highly stylized visuals that made those films so distinct seems to have caught on. So maybe that'll be enough to draw curiosity toward Miller's new project, The Spirit:

Granted, this is just a "teaser trailer," but if you're someone who didn't read the "Spirit" comic books or aren't familiar with the work of Will Eisner (in which titles incorporated into the backgrounds was a signature), was that just a little bit too cheesy for you? Or too vague?

Maybe that teaser was preaching to the converted, the fans who were going to see this movie anyway, either out of devotion to Miller, love of Eisner and his flagship character, or a general love of comic book adaptations. It's just meant to pique some curiosity and give people a taste. Perhaps I'm just overthinking the whole thing and underestimating whatever interest there will be in a good ol' action movie with cool action and hot babes (Scarlett Johansson! Eva Mendes! Paz Vega!).

Of course, I may have also just wanted to post a video, since I haven't posted anything in over a week.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mach-Go... Go! Mach-Go... Go!

I hope you'll indulge me for posting this video clip more for my own benefit than sharing it with the Fried Rice Friendos out there. After watching the new trailer for the Speed Racer movie - which I'm pretty sure did something to my brain with all of the scenery's sharp, kaleidoscopic colors - I had to find out what the original cartoon looked like. Thankfully, David Poland posted this little refresher over at The Hot Blog.

I actually didn't watch much of Speed Racer as a kid, or just don't remember (though I recall MTV or some other channel showing it at some point). So I can't really call myself a "fan," per se, though I'll see anything the Wachowski brothers make, and the visuals in the trailer (GO!) look absolutely incredible.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This Probably Wouldn't Work as Well in a Shower

Today's New York Times reminded me about this video that I meant to post at least a couple of weeks ago. If you've already seen it, feel free to move along and thanks for stopping by. Otherwise, here's a side of John Malkovich you likely haven't seen or heard (and might not want to again).

Very insightful, no? I'm hoping Craig Bierko interviews one of the up-and-coming acting talents in future episodes. Someone like, say, Scarlett Johansson. Other established actors of Academy Award-winning pedigree like Charlize Theron would be fine, as well.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Leatherheads: A Four-Sentence Movie Review

While promoting The Good German on The Daily Show two years ago, I recall George Clooney raving about all of the old-fashioned techniques and equipment - lens, lights, microphones, etc. - Steven Soderbergh employed to make his film appear as authentically 1940s as he could, to which Jon Stewart said, "I have one question for you: Why?"

Clooney doesn't take that gimmick quite so far with Leatherheads, though he's certainly trying to capture the feel and spirit of 1930s screwball comedies with formulaic set-up/joke dialogue, much of it carried by a roguishly charming man and a brassy dame serving and volleying quips back and forth like a tennis match. Clooney manages to re-create the type of zany comedy that just doesn't get made anymore, but while it's entertaining enough with three well-cast leads (Clooney and Renee Zellweger actually seem perfect for their roles), but it also feels like he's trying so hard to give the movie a certain tone and style that it makes the story far less substantial than it could've been.

This actually is kind of a similar movie to Eight Men Out in terms of showing how money can affect athletes and poison motives that were presumably pure, thus requiring a sport to incorporate rules and authority figures to maintain the pretense of fair play and professionalism in the name of commerce, but tackling heavier, far more complicated subjects like that would get in the way of slapstick chases and the romance they can lead to.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Best News My Sister Has Heard All Week?

Dr. Lil' Sis is getting married in two weeks (Two weeks?!), but until her day of holy matrimony, this might be the best news she's received this year. She'll never admit to it, though. Too bad she couldn't be home to watch the Today show this morning.

I apologize if all the screaming girls blew out your eardrums. You really can't make out anything anyone is saying, either.

The New Kids on the Block are back! And not just for a tour, but a new album! (That should make a great wedding present, don't you think? "Dear Sis, here's 'The Right Stuff'! Congrats!" And her groom better accept that he'll have to buy concert tickets.) OMG! NKTOB!

Lil' Sis might always make fun of me for playing with G.I. Joe action figures, but I have some ammunition, too.

(via Vulture)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

That Saucy Little Minx, Mrs. Butterworth

While having one of those quiet, contemplative mornings in which I'm trying to catch up on things that I've put off, overlooked, or neglected in the past few weeks, I realized that my friend, Mr. Peter J. Schwab, sent me a clip of his latest film endeavor, titled The Erotic Awakening of Mrs. B.

Has Pete expressed a new, innovative vision of the powerful mating that can occur between maple syrup and pancakes? Or has he given us some food porn (which is totally safe for work, by the way) to savor while you're craving breakfast? You make the call.

You might also remember Mr. Schwab from his previous works, such as The Most Gorgeous Penis, his demolition deconstruction of Paul Verhoeven, which somehow combined Total Recall and Showgirls, or his brilliant cinematic depiction of Marvel Comics' Doctor Strange, the latter two of which, unfortunately, have never been seen by anyone.

Peter, I really enjoyed your movie and apologize for my shameful neglect over the past month. Please excuse me while I look for some pancakes and perhaps some other things to pour maple syrup upon.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Most Fun You'll Have All Week?

For those who grew up reading MAD magazine, you surely remember the Fold-Ins on the inside back cover, created by the brilliant Al Jaffee. Jaffee is still drawing those clever visual compositions today, and he got some much-deserved love in the Sunday New York Times this week.

Even better than the feature on Jaffee is the interactive feature the NYT included with the online edition of the article. With a click and drag of your mouse, you can play with a bunch of Fold-Ins from past issues of MAD. Many of the jokes are dated and surprisingly preachy (yet probably much more daring than you see in MAD these days), but the visual trickery and ingenuity still holds up.

I'm sure lots of people have horror stories of mothers throwing out their baseball card or comic book collections. For me, the bad memories center on my old collection of MAD magazines. Mama Cass tossed those out when we moved before I started sixth grade. How I didn't realize what she was up to is something that boggles my mind to this day. (Maybe she knew that I wasn't paying as much attention to those magazines as I once had. It took me a while to discover that I didn't have them anymore.) Thanks to library book sales and appreciations like this NYT feature, however, I get to experience a little bit of nostalgia.

(via The Beat)

I've Been a Fan of Fantasy Sports For Longer Than I Realized

One of the things I often don't admit or acknowledge about my totally geeky youth is the love I had for professional wrestling. It took me a couple of years to completely accept that it was fake competition - and I think that's what pushed me into becoming the big sports fan I am today - but while I was in adolescent denial, I really enjoyed it.

And somehow, I got my dad into it, too, which is something my sister and I chuckle about to this day. He even shelled out to take the whole family to live wrestling events in Detroit, perhaps most famously Wrestlemania III at the Pontiac Silverdome.

What got me reminiscing about the interest that I try to repress in my memory was The Film Geek's post (and Wabi-Sabi's Tweet) about Ric Flair, who retired after his match on Sunday night. And here's what really makes me feel old: Sunday night's match took place at Wrestlemania XXIV. Man, a lot of Roman numbers have been added since the last time I watched wrestling.

Anyway, I was in the stands at Joe Louis Arena in 1987, when Flair lost his championship to Ron Garvin. And, of course, there's video of the match available on YouTube. (I could actually relive my entire wrestling loving childhood in about one afternoon on YouTube.) It's a long clip, and might just bore the crap out of you if you're not into wrestling, but if you fast-forward to the 8:40 mark, that was a pretty cool moment, scripted entertainment or not.

Flair won his belt back two months later in Chicago, but I thought it was so cool to be in attendance when a title changed hands. (Even if it did happen to Flair quite a bit over what was a long, long career.) Now I'm kind of wishing I could've seen that last match on Sunday.