Friday, February 26, 2010

Girls Just Want to Have listening to this!

Thanks to HBO's constant streaming of the '80s teen dance classic
Girls Just Want To Have Fun, I've always had a soft-spot in my heart for SJP and her dream to be on Dance TV. My cousin, Casey, and I would watch the thing over and over again--I could probably quote most of it if my life depended on it (which would be a weird thing for your life to depend on--when was the last time anyone was asked to rattle off Jonathan Silverman's dialogue at gunpoint?)

The film sports one of the best soundtracks of that decade--an extremely hard one to hunt down, btw. I took it upon myself (believe me, this is totally self-inflicted!) to record a cover of my favorite tune from the flick--Q-Feel's "Dancin' In Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)." And since I can't actually play any instruments (which I plan to remedy this year with guitar lessons), I recorded the whole thing using vocals only. So...what it lacks in technical ability it more than makes up for in heart, much like Janey Glenn herself! Click...and "enjoy."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wha...I'm the lead character in a romance novel!

My parents were nice enough to give me a good, unique name when I was born--there are a few Cole Strattons out there, but not a ton. There's a snowboarder in Colorado; a Daly City Firefighter; me--and now I'm a lead character in a romance novel by Susan Vaughan!

From Ms. Vaughan's website, the plot of Guarding Laura:

"Guarding Laura is the story of two former lovers who are the last people each wants to see. After witnessing a murder, museum curator Laura Rossiter hides under an assumed name at a Maine lake resort. Because the killer has terrorist connections, government officer Cole Stratton becomes her protector. Together they must trap a dangerous killer. How can Cole pretend to be the new lover of the woman who once broke his heart and left him to rot in jail? Laura must guard her resentment against him and the secret in her heart, but how can she when he's guarding her 24/7?"

I gotta pick up a copy...

May I suggest some further adventures for government officer Cole Stratton?

Protecting Penelope

"Disgraced government officer Cole Stratton takes refuge in Los Angeles after the woman he had sworn to protect was murdered under his watch. A slave to the bottle and painkillers, Cole scrapes by taking various one-off bodyguard jobs. When pseudo-famous actress Penelope Ann Miller becomes the target of an obsessed fan, Cole is hesitant to take the job--especially since he really hated The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag. But as the two become close over a screening of Big Top Pee Wee, Cole realizes that there's more to Penelope than he bargained for--will his new found feelings cloud his judgment so much that he fails her when she needs him most?"

Bodyguarding Bernie

"The last thing corporate embezzler and womanizer Bernie Lomax expected one fateful weekend was to be murdered--but that wasn't going to stop him from partying. Government official Cole Stratton had inherited a series of ropes and pulleys from his late uncle, and was just trying to unload them on Craigslist when he was faced with an interesting proposition--help two schlubs make Bernie the life of the party for one weekend only for some quick, hard cash. But as Cole and Bernie become close over a screening of Big Top Pee Wee, Cole realizes that there's more to Bernie than he bargained for--will his new found feelings cloud his judgment so much that he fails him when he needs him most?"

Safeguarding Susan

"Government official Cole Stratton didn't realize what he was getting himself into that fateful day when he accidentally traveled through time in a customized Toyota Celica to 1869, and found himself at a National Women's Suffrage Association meeting. The target of a change-fearing sociopath, young Susan B. Anthony found herself fighting not only for the right to vote, but the right to stay alive. Stuck in the past, Cole agrees to protect her. After a discussion about the upcoming invention of film and the description of Big Top Pee Wee, Cole realizes there's more to Susan than he bargained for--will his new found feelings cloud his judgment so much that he fails her when she needs him most?"

Get to it, writers!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Arbor Day: The Movie (attention Hollywood!)

With the success of the star-studded, mindless romcom Valentine's Day, might I pitch to you, almighty Hollywood, your next smash-hit? It puts VD's cast to shame! Check it out!


The lives of many are turned-upside down on one very special Arbor Day...

Seattle, Washington (played by Vancouver, BC). A ruthless developer (Robert Duvall) and his two sons, Phil (Vince Vaughn) and Tommy (Jon Favreau) are moments away from chopping down several acres of forest to make way for a new vacation lodge. Phil's long-suffering girlfriend, Denise (Jessica Alba) is tired of his promises to settle down, and Tommy's wife, Veronica (Sarah Wynter) is frustrated by Tommy's blind devotion to his bully of a father. The owners of the to-be developed acreage, Gary and Shawnee (Tim Robbins and Sally Jesse Raphael) are so far behind on property taxes that they are forced to sell the land, and are unsure of their future. Add to the mix Gary's drunk of a father (NFL great Terry Bradshaw) and his kids from a previous marriage (Eddie Murphy, in multiple roles), and Gary's up against a wall. Fighting against the developer is a gang of woodland creatures, trying to save their home. They are led by a time-traveling otter (voiced by Will Arnett) who can't figure out how to get back to his Monterey Bay water home. There's a manic-depressive squirrel (Pauly Shore), a sassy owl (critic Pauline Kael), twin wiener dogs (Olympian Michael Phelps and musician Randy Newman), a wily fox (Matthew Lesko, the guy in the question-mark suit) and a big ol' grizzly bear (Shohreh Aghdashloo). With the help of Robert Twofeathers (Graham Greene), a wise Native American, the animals are ready to hold their own against the oncoming bulldozers. Meanwhile, the Lorax (Huey Lewis), official spokesman for the trees, pleads his case to a sympathetic official at City Hall (played by Daniel Day Lewis), who appeals to the planning commissioner (the Hamburgler), a flawed man with skeletons of his own. The commissioner sends in a band of environmental activists (Eddie Deezen, Dick Van Patten, Edward Furlong and Sigourney Weaver's Na'vi Avatar) to see if they can change the developer's mind. A local band, Freelance Bass (played by musicians Chris Cornell, Kelis, and two of the Presidents of the United States of America), decide to stage a fund-raising concert to save the land. A wealthy philanthropist (George Clooney), in town to visit his ex-wife (Sheena Easton), catches a few minutes of the band's set and is intrigued. As he crosses to compliment them, he is hit by a bus driven by haggard old Mr. Pryor (Sam Elliot). Shocked, the bus comes to a stop, and the passengers (Lisa Ling, Stephen Furst, Ronaldo, Terri Hatcher, Ray Park, Grape Ape, Timothy Busfield, Wiley Wiggins, Ms. Pac-Man, Harriet Tubman, Dustin Diamond, Brian Cranston, Mo Gaffney, Darryl Strawberry, Stephen Fry, Garth Brooks, Don Quixote, Loren Dean, Shannyn Sossamon, Berry Gordy, Catfish Hunter, Christopher McDonald, Mia Hamm, Geraldo Rivera, Winn-Dixie and The Goo-Goo Dolls) all rush to his aid. Is it too late to save the forest, on Arbor Day? Only one man knows...Zeus (Ian Ziering), has been watching from the heavens, unsure if he will intervene or not. His daughter, Athena (Markie Post) urges him to take action, while his son, Ares (Stephen J. Cannell), advises him to let it play out. Will all of these story lines come together in a satisfying way? You'll have to see it to find out!

Produced by Scott Rudin and the estate of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Written by Studs Terkel, based on the graphic novel by Aaron Sorkin and Arthur Ashe. Directed by Emilio Estevez. Music by Tangerine Dream featuring 50-Cent and Simon Lebon.

Make it happen, movie factories!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weird Album Cover Art V: Assignment Miami Beach

Time for more terrible, disturbing, weird, awful, FANTASTIC album cover art!

Yeah, we doin' hibernating, mutha f@#%&!

No, grandma, I don't know where your doilies went...


I was wondering who fathered the Blue Man Group...

Come backpacking with us! will return

So I found these punk songs in the Crystal Cave. They attacked me, so I broke their arms backward. No good tunes had it comin'.

Hey guys! I've got it! You know how I've always said rock n' roll is an axe-wielding gibbon-headed sumo wrestler atop a hill of skulls avoiding low-flying aircraft? Have I got a sketch for you!

All I need is this ashtray, and this paddle ball, and my's all I need...

Hey you punk kids! This is my album cover! Stop testing your felt-tipped markers on it!

Yeah, you know where this flute is goin'...

E.T. might mean exercising together, but you need to be extra-terrestrial to float like that.

I doubt he'll seymour record sales...

Full title is "Lady's Fancy A Barf Bag."

It's Israel's best improv/prop-comic trio! Comedy Central is gonna put them on it to fill the void left by the Jeff Dunham "show."

No, but you can borrow scissors, a razor and some sleeves...

Yep, nothin' gets the ladies in the mood better than a tightly sung rendition of "Lyda Rose."

Unfortunately, Little David Wilkins ate all the remaining copies of his debut album.

From How Da Grinch Stole Crizz-nas by DJ Sooz!

I'm pretty sure that kid is signing "Please send help."

A fascinating world full of lap-sitting and gift-wishing.

VERY controversial campaign poster for Barbara Boxer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

That's Celebutainment! Part III!

Yep, it's time for more celebrity gossip!*

Fifteen-year-old pop star hearthrob Justin Bieber announced today that a yet-unnamed fetus will be his opening act on a twenty-two city tour this summer. "Currently, he/she is only about 3 months old, so they haven't selected a name yet," said Bieber, "But, daaaaamn, it's, like, the schizznit." Tour technicians plan to use sonogram footage on the amphitheatre screens during the young artist's opening set, with a sensitive shure sm57 microphone on the expectant mother's belly. The fetus' first single, "Back Thiz Womb UP," drops next month.

Part-time politician and full-time Russia-viewer Sarah Palin announced today that her new memoir, tentatively titled "Sarah Palin Could Have Been in Monty Python If Her Name Was Michael," will be entirely written on the back of her hand. "The best writers use whatever kind of thing they feel most comfortable writing on. I think Kerouac used an old Remington Rand typewriter, and, oh you know, look, there's a bear!" said Palin, in a statement issued from her Alaskan home. Currently, there are no plans by anyone to buy this book.

NBA superstar Kobe Bryant shocked a full house at Staples Center Wednesday night when he dished the ball off to "teammate" Pau Gasol. Gasol, stunned, drop the ball and ran to the bench, the color draining from his face. The entire Minnesota Timberwolves team stopped playing defense, and officials seems noticeably disturbed. "I don't know what came over me," said Bryant. "They were quadruple-teaming me, and I had already dribbled around for about twenty seconds, and I spied, like, four yellow Lakers jerseys by themselves. I guess the ball just slipped out, or it's a full-moon, or something." Bryant plans to run a full-page ad in tomorrow's Los Angeles Times, apologizing to the organization and fans, and promising to never do it again. He finished with 102 points, in the Lakers 102-96 win.

In an unusual turn of events, the self-proclaimed "white supremacist" celebrity penis of blues guitarist and "stand-up comedian" John Mayer has entered into a support group that teaches about appropriate behavior in the workplace and diversity. "Me hump anything that moves," said the penis, adding "Me been in many movie stars, and me be in many more. Why me discriminate? What, me no hump Halle Berry if possibility? What me thinking? Me equal-opportunity poker." Mayer plans to write an apology song, with lyrics, once sung, that will be impossible to understand.

Ten p.m. failure Jay Leno admitted to a packed press room at the Hollywood Hiatt Tuesday morning that every ten seconds, he buys a sports car and adds "ya know!" to the end of every joke he's ever written. "What can I say, it's just what I do. Hey, can I interview some of you on the street and make you look stupid so I can feel better about myself?" asked Leno, in a high-pitched squeal that sent all dogs scrambling from the hotel.

Popular animated video game character Dirk the Daring, the hero in the successful "Dragon's Lair" game, came out to his new celebrity housemates in the season premiere of the VH1's Surreal World. "I'm surprised you all didn't know," said a stunned Dirk, "Other knights wore dark chain mail, and I was simply ravishing in my red and gold tunic." Joining Dirk on the show are Levar Burton, the ghost of Falco, Scott Schwartz, Gandalf (the gray), the "Where's the Beef?" lady, Fievel Mousekewitz and Ann Magnuson.

Multi-bijillionaire Donald Trump announced today that he will be trying out a series of new catch phrases this season on his Celebrity Apprentice show. Said Trump: "I've had a ton of fun with, 'You're Fired,' but that ship has sailed, baby." New phrases rumored to be bandied about: "You're no longer in my employ," "Look, you've done a decent job here, but our synergy isn't there, ok, so don't make this any harder than it is," and "Up your nose with a rubber hose."

Kooky psychotic character actor Dennis Hopper is set to play John Henderson, a dental hygienist with absolutely no irregular tendencies, in the drama "D.D.S.," slated for production this spring. "I know, I know, this is going to be a tough one for me," said Hopper, taking a hit from a giant helium tank. "When I read the script, I was like, that's all good, but when does he make a coat out of a hooker, or dress up like Isabella Rossellini, or eat babies, or something? Then I realized this was going to take a lot of research on my part." Playing opposite of Hopper, as a psychotic transgendered serial killer, is reliable everyman John Ratzenberger.

Beloved(?) 80's nautical comedy "Captain Ron" has been unearthed from the Hollywood Pictures vault and given a 3-D overhaul, helmed by "Avatar" creator James Cameron. Says Cameron: "When I first saw the script for the movie, I cautioned director Thom Eberhardt. I said, 'The technology isn't there yet, just wait for it,' but he didn't. Now I think we're finally there and can do this tale justice." The studio has announced a June 15th release date, which pits the picture against the 3-D re-release of "The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag."

Those watching "The View" yesterday morning were treated to an unusual unscripted moment when, during an argument about same-sex marriage, Walters split open revealing a dark spectre, who rose toward the ceiling and pointed a long bony finger towards ex-Survivor and right-wing nut Hasselbeck. "I'll see you in Hell, Haaaaaaaaaselbeck!" it proclaimed, disappearing from the studio, leaving it's Walters shell behind, slumped on the floor. Order was quickly restored when quipster Whoopi Goldberg made a joke related to her Oscar turn in the hit film "Ghost."

*all gossip is a figment of my imagination, and not intended to be slanderous in any way. So lighten up, celebrities!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ya know, it's just an honor to be nominated...

This past Tuesday, the nominees for the 2010 Academy Awards were announced. Knee-deep in SF Sketchfest madness, I haven't had the time until now to really examine them--some surprises, some snubs, some head-scratchers...but who will go home with gold statuettes? My thoughts, category by category (save for technical categories and some of the smaller ones)...

The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker
SHOULD WIN: District 9
SNUBBED: Star Trek, Invictus

In order to include some big popcorn movies in addition to the usual arthouse fare, Oscar opened up the field to include 10 nominees instead of 5, a practice they used to do back in the early days of the ceremony. Very happy to see District 9 in there--Neil Blomkamp's original sci-fi thriller is deserving of some accolades. The Hurt Locker has a very good chance of pulling off the win, though I wouldn't be surprised if James Cameron's Avatar takes it, since it is now officially the highest grossing film of all time, just seven weeks into it's release. Moderately entertaining eye candy, Avatar is a technical marvel with a pretty bad script (does Cameron only have, like, 10 characters he just keeps recycling from film to film? Can Paul Reiser sue Giovani Ribisi for his copycat performance?) Surprised that Star Trek didn't get a nod, as it was popular with both audiences and critics alike. Biggest surprise here: The Blind Side. Middling reviews at best, it struck a chord with audiences but is considered to be a by-the-numbers manipulative heart-string tugger.

Kathryn Bigelow; The Hurt Locker
Jason Reitman; Up in the Air
James Cameron; Avatar
Lee Daniels; Precious
Quentin Tarantino; Inglorious Basterds

WILL WIN: Kathryn Bigelow
SHOULD WIN: Kathryn Bigelow
SNUBBED: Clint Eastwood; Invictus, Neil Blomkamp; District 9

Kathryn Bigelow did an outstanding job with The Hurt Locker--she crafts one taught, thrilling scene after another and guides an outstanding cast. She's helmed a lot of underrated actioners in the past (Point Break, Blue Steel, Near Dark, Strange Days) and it's great that she is finally getting the recognition she deserves. I'm hoping that James Cameron doesn't take it--after all, he is responsible for his deplorable screenwriting.

Jeff Bridges; Crazy Heart
George Clooney; Up in the Air
Colin Firth; A Single Man
Morgan Freeman; Invictus
Jeremy Renner; The Hurt Locker

WILL WIN: Jeff Bridges
SHOULD WIN: Jeremy Renner
SNUBBED: Sharlto Copley; District 9, Matt Damon; The Informant!

I confess, I haven't yet seen Crazy Heart, so it's hard for me to really pick Renner over Bridges, but Jeremy Renner was so fantastic in The Hurt Locker, it's hard to think of anyone eclipsing him. Freeman fully channeled Mandela in Invictus, but Oscar voters will probably feel he's been honored enough in the past. Look for Bridges to get that career-encompassing Oscar this year.
***NOTE: Went to a late showing of Crazy Heart last night, and holy lord, Bridges is good. He's such a dynamic, subtle actor, he inhabits the role of Bad Blake and you forget that behind the booze and country music is Bridges the actor. He's just as deserving as Renner.

Sandra Bullock; The Blind Side
Helen Mirren; The Last Station
Carey Mulligan; An Education
Gabourey Sidibe; Precious
Meryl Streep; Julie & Julia

WILL WIN: Sandra Bullock
SHOULD WIN: Carey Mulligan
SNUBBED: Melanie Laurent; Inglorious Basterds

Ok, even though I saw 50 movies released this year, I didn't see ANY of the above. I have screener copies of An Education, Precious and Julie & Julia awaiting me (thanks SAG!), but haven't had the chance to view them yet. I guess I really can't have a "should win" since I have nothing to base it on, but the few clips I've seen of Carey Mulligan are winning. I'll revise this section once I've viewed everything...
***Note: Last night, I watched An Education--and Mulligan was seriously fantastic, so I'll stick with her as my should win pick.

Matt Damon; Invictus
Woody Harrelson; The Messenger
Christopher Plummer; The Last Station
Stanley Tucci; The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz; Inglorious Basterds

WILL WIN: Christoph Waltz
SHOULD WIN: Christoph Waltz
SNUBBED: Anthony Mackie; The Hurt Locker, Alfred Molina; An Education

Mackie matched Renner's intensity in The Hurt Locker, it's appalling that he didn't get nominated. I really like Matt Damon a lot, but I thought his performance was kinda quiet and one note in Invictus, whereas his tremendous work in The Informant! went unnoticed. Nice to see Plummer get a nod (he's never been nominated before), but from what I've heard, The Last Station is one of those over dramatic period pieces that give period pieces a bad name. Waltz was the best thing about Inglorious Basterds, and is deserving of the award--you can't take your eyes off of him whenever he is on screen.

Penelope Cruz; Nine
Vera Farmiga; Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal; Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick; Up in the Air
Mo'nique; Precious

WILL WIN: Mo'nique
SHOULD WIN: Mo'nique
SNUBBED: Diane Kruger; Inglorious Basterds

Granted, I haven't seen Precious, but Mo'nique is incredible in every clip I've seen. Farmiga was the best thing about Up in the Air, and would be deserving of the award in any other year, but Mo'nique is the closest thing to a lock we have this year. Kendrick was serviceable in Up in the Air, but a few moments rang false (her "crying" scene after her boyfriend breaks up with her, for one). Penelope Cruz? REALLY? Nine was savaged by critics, and I'm sorry, but half the time I have no idea what she is saying.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells

SHOULD WIN: Fantastic Mr. Fox or Coraline
SNUBBED: 9; Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

What an amazing year for animation! Up was another outstanding Pixar entry (the ten minute romance montage at the top is one of the best pieces of filmmaking of the year, period), but it came in third in my book, behind Wes Anderson's delightful Mr. Fox and the Henry Selick/Neil Gaiman stop-motion masterpiece Coraline. It was also nice to see Disney return to hand-drawn animation with The Princess and the Frog, which may have only been so-so overall, but looked great, nonetheless.

Ajami (Israel)
The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
Un Prophete (France)
El Secreto de Sus Ojos (Argentina)
The White Ribbon (Germany)

WILL/SHOULD WIN: The White Ribbon

The White Ribbon, directed by Michael Haneke (who did the great Cache), already won the Palm D'or at Cannes and will mostly collect the award come Oscar night.

Mark Boal; The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino; Inglorious Basterds
Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman; The Messenger
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen; A Serious Man
Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy; Up

WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker
SHOULD WIN: The Hurt Locker
SNUBBED: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; (500) Days of Summer

The Hurt Locker is ripe with intense imagery, speeches and surprising twists and turns, and gave the actors a lot of work with. I'm surprised (500) Days of Summer was left off this list--it was a refreshing, original take on the rom com (though rang a bit too precious with some).

Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell; District 9
Nick Hornby; An Education
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche; In the Loop
Geoffrey Fletcher; Precious
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner; Up in the Air

WILL WIN: Up in the Air
SHOULD WIN: Up in the Air
SNUBBED: Wes Anderson; Fantastic Mr. Fox

Up in the Air is a throwback to the screwball comedies of Preston Sturges, with a bit of Capra thrown in--this film has the chance to become a classic, a time capsule of the uncertain economic times we live in. Anderson's Mr. Fox was a delightful, fun adaptation of Roald Dahl's short story, and very much belongs on this list.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
The White Ribbon

WILL WIN: Avatar
SNUBBED: Star Trek; District 9; Where the Wild Things Are

Cameron's big blue pic should win this and most technical awards, which is why I won't detail any of the rest of them. Spike Jonz' Wild Things, though a bit of a disappointment, still looked amazing, and should have been nominated.

Good luck to all of the nominess--remember, it's an honor to be nominated!*

*ok, it's kinda bullshit to say that, I know...