Me and My Nine Iron

September 30, 2010

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

Maybe, I’ll start posting up funny viral videos when they get to me.

My two favorite aren’t on this list: La-a (pronounced Ladasha) and ABCD (absehdee). Now, that’s thinking outside the box.

Speaking of black people, I was watching Price is Right this morning, and this buff, black guy was last to spin the wheel after the woman before her took two spins to get $1. He spun it real soft and landed on $1 too, and while they were lining up to re-spin, he was so close to crying. Drew Carey was too much of a wuss to mention it, but this guy had to shake his head, breathing heavily and wiping his forehead before regaining composure.

I admit I’ll cry over silly things myself. When I really get into it, I can shed some tears for the Korean national anthem or the American flag on a fire truck bristling in the wind or a Cirque du Soleil show. But a game show? Well, I can’t really say for certain because I’ve never been on one, but I don’t think I would. I mean, I’d have to win a lot of money to get caught up with emotion. Hopefully, for not less than $100,000. This guy was acting a fool for a $5,000 bonus, and he lost the spin-off. No word on whether he cried backstage.

And speaking of game shows, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is holding L.A. auditions in Culver City Friday morning for those interested. Here’s the info. Don’t worry, I saw the commercials on TV too. Craiglist seems kind of shady, ever since they removed their adult services section.

BJ

September 20, 2010

The Town review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 6:48 pm
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Ben Affleck‘s second writing/directing project (Gone Baby Gone) is another critical success, even putting up a better rating (8.4 IMDb) than his award-winning Good Will Hunting. And it delivered. Set in Affleck’s hometown of Boston, this isn’t your average group of disguise-wielding bank robbers.

Similar to Joseph Gordon-Levitt stealing the show in Inception, Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) does the same here, as the gang plans to go out with a high-stakes bang. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) plays the hatable FBI agent on their trail, but Blake Lively‘s horrible Boston accent was a distraction from the good whore that she was playing. Still a great movie with an impressive ending.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Atmosphere – To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EPs

It’s been a long two years without one of my favorite rap artists – Atmosphere. Known to release EPs prior to studio albums, they just released a 12-track double EP, which is a nice bounce back from the somewhat disappointing When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold.

Filled with his signature narratives (The Number None), he also talks a lot about getting through the current struggles in his unofficial single, Freefallin’ and offers optimism and upbeat music in The Best Day and Hope. To All My Friends is a great track for big-time Atmosphere fans, where we learn some more about Slug’s life, and Shotgun is free-flowing Slug at the top of his game.

Looking forward to the rumored 2011 album release.

Favorite tracks: The Best Day, The Loser Wins, Shotgun

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

BJ

September 16, 2010

Kabuki opening

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 1:53 pm
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My favorite sushi place opened its 11th SoCal restaurant in Brea last week, and I had to go check it out. Unlike some of their other locations, they have a nice outdoor patio, which we took advantage of, and an empty pond circling all the way around. I mainly love this place because it was the first sushi place I went to in college, where a friend was a waiter at the Cerritos location. It’s also home to my favorite spicy tuna rolls to this day. Even its appearance looks nothing like you’ve ever seen; it’s creamy and brighter, almost like a dull orange color, which I’ve been told is extra mayo. Whatever it is, it’s working for them.

Believe it or not, I couldn’t finish my meal that day, and all I had was two rolls, I always get the Philadelphia Roll (salmon, cream cheese) too wherever I go, and a Beef and Chicken Teriyaki lunch combo, which comes with miso soup and salad. I’m sure I could’ve finished it if I dropped a deuce in the pond but regardless, it was a lot of food for $24.

Do you know someone where bad things always and only happen to that one person? Well for me, that person is my sister in restaurants. She always ends up with the dirty plates or with foreign things in her food that the incessant complaints have almost become annoying now. I know it sucks, but just eat through that curly hair every once in a while.

Well, it happened again that night. We went to an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ place in Koreatown and at the end of the meal, they cook kimchi fried rice on the grill. Well, we’re digging in, and my sister spits out what looks like a clear, tiny bead from her mouth. She brings it to our waiter’s attention, and this is the best part, he picks it up from her hand and talks it over with two other waiters. He comes back, and the best he could come up with is that the salt in the seaweed sometimes solidifies and so that this rock of a bead is merely hardened salt.

Meanwhile, I surmised that it could be one of those preservation packets that look like salt packets you find in your package of seaweed and which reads, “DO NOT EAT” because it’s poison. But if that was the case, my sister tells me, then surely there would be more than one bead in the fried rice, as I proceeded to eat it all. Fortunately, they were nice enough to take off our $6.50 beer bottle. But seriously.

BJ

September 15, 2010

The Last Exorcism review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 2:04 pm
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The latest film in the exorcism saga follows a minister who is losing faith in what he’s believed all his life and certainly doesn’t believe in exorcisms but continues to practice because it brings in the money. He decides to carry out one final exorcism and have it all on tape for the sham that he believes it to be.

A mockumentary horror film Blair Witch-style, I loved the first 97 of the 99 minutes. While not nearly as scary as the previous ‘Exorcism’ films, I can’t deny I was tense most of the time while enjoying the minister’s confusion from these events still occurring after thinking he got the demon out of the girl.

The ending however, proved to be a colossal failure. After one crazy scene, the movie abruptly cuts out, leaving too many questions unanswered, including new ones introduced in this last scene. My initial instinct is that the writing felt lazy, as if they intended to just wrap everything up and give moviegoers something to think about. I’m not asking to have every movie hand it to me on a plate, but this was quite easily, just an awful mistake in ruining a good thing.

I read an article posted on opening weekend that feared word-of-mouth on this poor ending (See, I’m not the only one.) would crush its solid debut, but that proved wrong. I think that only works the other way, if a movie’s good and even then, not always (e.g. Going the Distance, which I’ve heard is a pretty good movie…from guys). I’ve seen far too many $100 million movies that shouldn’t have come close because no one liked it, but the crowds kept pouring in. After three weeks of release, it has made $35 million while still in the Top 10 against its $1.8 million budget. It’s still worth watching and maybe, it’s a good thing you won’t lose any sleep over it.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

BJ

September 14, 2010

Handel’s Ice Cream review

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 12:44 pm
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Yet another East Coast shop slowly making its way towards the Pacific, Handel’s Ice Cream & Yogurt opened its second California shop in Redondo Beach five weeks ago (the other’s in Upland). Ranked in various sources as one of the ten best ice cream businesses in the world(!), the local paper claimed its original Ohio location is “The Busiest Ice Cream Stand in America.” A newspaper posted on the window at its Redondo site has it first in the world while Cold Stone is 7th, to put it in perspective for us Californians. Hell, Bill Cosby is said to have it shipped to him monthly.

I checked this place out recently, and I have to say I was excited with the entire experience. A quaint stand, there are several windows to order from and a big room you can see into, where your server walks over to one of a dozen ice cream coolers and scoops the ice cream herself.

There wasn’t a line, but there were several groups licking their ice cream outside, with a steady flow of people coming. A cake cone goes for $3.50 and a 4 Scoop Sampler goes for $5.00, prices that I won’t complain about when considering Cold Stone’s prices.

I ordered a Chunky Chocolate Chip on a cake cone, a conservative choice I

Ice Cream Cakes & Pies

was told, and I would guess it’s just short of two scoops, unless it is that. The great thing though, is that the ice cream fills all the way down your cone and is a perfect balance as you go down the cone. I don’t know what makes this ice cream stand out, but it was quality so I’ll let the critics fight about it. As many flavors as there was, I had a hard time choosing one that I liked, and they didn’t have anywhere near the amount of flavors listed on their site.

I’ll definitely go again if I’m in the area, and that ice cream pie caught my eye. Serves 6-8 – forget about it.

Note to self: Eating this before my weekly hockey game can result in inertia and basically, sucking major ass.

BJ

September 12, 2010

Avatar: Special Edition review

The friend that I watched Avatar with in the theater nine months ago was waiting to watch it again in IMAX 3D when it was re-released. I myself have heard the testimonies of this movie being incredible in this format, with one girl vomiting from the experience being too vivid. With the excitement of watching a movie in IMAX 3D for the first time and with 9 extra minutes of footage, I decided at the last minute to tag along. Actually, I ended up driving the six of us, and I’m still trying to figure that one out. I will admit that the IMAX 3D is unparalleled with regard to 3D viewing. But, I guess you get what you pay for. It was $18.50 per ticket, about $4 more than a gimmicky 3D experience.

My feelings toward this movie from the first time I watched it did not change. It actually made clear what I didn’t like about it. The biggest knock I have on the highest-grossing film of all-time is the length. I don’t have a problem with long movies. If it keeps my attention, it did the job. I’ve sat through James Cameron‘s Titanic just fine, and that runs at 3 hours and 14 minutes long. I think this story can be told effectively in 2 hours and 15 minutes; the re-release is 2 hours and 51 minutes (with an additional 6 minutes when the extended DVD comes out in November).

The first hour is a solid foundation and where the first time I watched, Giovanni Ribisi‘s character was a little disconnected and a minor role, this time around, I liked the character who’s just another big shot trying to make some money in this world. Pandora, the part of the story people love, kills me. Literally. I’ve slept both times for about a half hour; don’t worry, I’ve seen the entire movie collectively. But that says something, being that I don’t remember ever falling asleep in the theater for another movie. After all, that’s money down the drain. Simply, there’s too much trying to be introduced about the Na’vi, and the humans’ attack drags out. What can be done in one day of fighting is spread out over several battles and about an hour and a half of movie time. I understand the buildup towards an epic battle scene, but this was just ridiculous.

I also don’t like how they never talked about what the use of unobtainium is. The humans’ entire purpose on Pandora is to retrieve this valuable mineral, and yet they’re not going to tell us why they need it, besides the fact that it’s worth a lot of money.

It made $10 million in three weeks of re-release with a solid theater average (top 6 every week of movies with over 100 theaters playing), but you’re not missing anything if you’ve already seen it.

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Bruno Mars – It’s Better If You Don’t Understand

Fresh off his breakout hits which he penned, “Nothing on You” with B.o.B. and “Billionaire” with Travie McCoy, Bruno Mars released a 4-track EP in May. The only disappointing thing about it is its length because you want more. His lyrics are great, and his signature falsettos make him more listenable than Ne-Yo. His debut album, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” comes out October 5th, and he’s kept himself relevant with his single, “Just the Way You Are.” With the track list released, I’m kind of disappointed at the short album. There are only ten tracks, including three from his E.P., where he hooks up with B.o.B. again in “The Other Side.” The one song excluded might be my favorite. Still a highly anticipated album.

Favorite track: Somewhere in Brooklyn

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

BJ

September 9, 2010

Gauging Michael Cera’s marketability

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 4:28 pm
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I thought of this because a) Michael Cera was probably tops on my list to play the lead role in my screenplay and b) critically-acclaimed Scott Pilgrim vs. the World bombed at the box office, leaving me to wonder if I could do just as much on my own. This is all long and far from now, but I can think, can’t I? After all, one bomb can affect future work for the actor, director and even the screenwriter.

First, a long look at Scott Pilgrim. The $60 million movie spent just two weeks in the Top 10 and was outgrossed in the U.S. by the $20 million parody, Vampires Suck, which looks like the dumbest movie ever made, despite having the same imdB rating (8.1) and cool appeal as Kick-Ass, which was just short of being a $100 million movie.

Then, the reports that Cera, who has experienced box-office success, isn’t so appealing anymore and finally, my friends telling me they don’t like him. Some never found his awkward humor funny, even in Superbad, and now, others are just tired of the same ol’ role we’re accustomed to seeing him playing, which is tough for comics because you name any of ’em, and I’m sure they’re typecast (Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Vince Vaughn, to name a few).

For the record, I like Cera, and while I never caught on to Arrested Development, I’ve seen every wide-release movie of his since Superbad, save Scott Pilgrim. I thought every one of those five movies was quality, and hell, Superbad snatched the vacant title as my favorite comedy of all-time.

All that being said, like sports, the entertainment industry ultimately is a business. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good movie if you lose money. It’s the reason why producers are willing to pay top dollar to Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller because they bring the crowds. I was buying into the notion that Cera was just another character actor not able to carry a movie and definitely not deserving of a big budget movie. So I had to check the numbers.

Michael Cera Filmography 2007-Present
Movie Budget (in millions) Gross Revenue (in millions)
Superbad 20 170
Juno 7 231
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist 10 34
Year One 60 62
Youth in Revolt 18 19
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 60 39+

Okay, maybe he’s not deserving of a big budget movie, but everyone else needs to lay down. Scott Pilgrim is his first movie not to break even against its production budget, which still gives him a solid record. It happens to the best of them, and it wouldn’t be a disappointing career if he never starred in a movie that made as much as Superbad or Juno again. That’s expecting way too much.

If anything can be learned from this, quite simply, don’t throw him in a movie with a budget over $10 million, which makes him perfect for my low budget flick. It seems as though a big sidekick helps too, as Jonah Hill, Ellen Page and Jack Black have helped him reach his highest grosses.

It’s not that he or his movies have dropped off; only one of those movies got worse than a 6.7 imdB rating (I still liked Year One). I think the crowds aren’t willing to come out anymore for someone whose humor isn’t as loud as a comic like Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell. I hope producers catch on before tossing Cera in another big budget movie, unlike how they never figured out Eddie Murphy‘s abysmal track record, who hasn’t made a live-action movie better than Cera’s worst 11 years running. All is laid to rest.

BJ

September 8, 2010

A good night

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 4:25 pm

You know you had a good night when you wake up to find you’ve puked in your bedroom trash can, set off the house alarm and have an uneasy stomach well past 10p the next day. Good thing for that holiday. I know it wasn’t much different than any other Sunday, but at least I can have a do-over on Monday.

BJ

September 6, 2010

Fast food review

Filed under: Food reviews — BJ @ 3:01 pm
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Today‚Äôs edition of Fast Food Review is dedicated to Carl’s Jr.’s new Philly Cheesesteak Burger, which is essentially a Philly Cheesesteak on burger buns (something the Vito’s in their commercial doesn’t do). The combo with small fries and a small drink goes for $6.57 so save a dollar with this coupon off their website that I didn’t use. (Did you know that you don’t save any money with Carl’s Jr. combos than if you ordered the fries and drink separately? Correct me if I’m wrong, but McDonald’s will save you some change. I thought that was pretty lame.)

First impression: I see all the ingredients of a Philly Cheesesteak in the burger. Looks dark and like you might taste barbeque sauce from the color. Decent size.

First bite: Every bite initially is a little off. I don’t know what it tastes like, but I know it’s not good. Every bite. After that first second of chewing though, then you get the Philly Cheesesteak that you’re accustomed to. There’s a lot of meat because they still add the beef patty in addition to the steak, which is good for us meat lovers. The sauteed green bell peppers and onions are delish, too.

Verdict: I was very satisfied with the portion. I spent good money on a nice burger combo, and I got what I paid for. Generally, Carl’s Jr. burgers are likely better than the burgers you would find at Jack in the Box, and this is just another example, as I’d get this over the cheaper Really Big Chicken Sandwich Combo in my recent review.

I forgot to mention that when I went in to Carl’s Jr., I couldn’t find the Philly Cheesesteak Burger anywhere – not on their menu nor on any pictures anywhere. I thought that was most bizarre, and I had to ask the cashier if they had it there.

BJ

September 2, 2010

Jump rope movie

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 3:00 pm
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There are plenty of cool things people can do. Hell, we have an entire show devoted to this called America’s Got Talent. None of them, however, are worth making into a movie, and that goes for this jump rope team too. For it to even get the attention of a Hollywood producer is an utter FAIL.

BJ

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