Me and My Nine Iron

June 22, 2011

Atmosphere – The Family Sign review

Atmosphere – The Family Sign

It had been a long three years since their last studio album, and after the initial listen, it was another major disappointment. Brother Ali said the best track anyone under the Rhymesayers label ever made is on this album. I’m still scratching my head as to which song he’s talking about. Nothing will ever touch Trying To Find A Balance. But he lost all credibility when he said Blueprint was the best MC in the group. I almost un-liked his outspoken ass on Facebook.

Slug continues his coffeehouse poetry style he started in When Life Gives You Lemons…, and I absolutely hate it. The two-man group added a keyboard and guitar player, who completely took over the music in this album. Ant’s fiery beats are lost in the live instrumentals, which have proven successful in the past but fell flat in this album. Pushing on 39 this fall, Slug is now married with a second kid, and my friend and I agreed, the fire in this MC is gone. How much more he has to say remains a mystery. That is until…

We went to The Fox Theater in Pomona last month. We bought our tickets before the album came out, and by the time we were heading to the show, we had lost all excitement from the album’s disappointment. In a nutshell, he put on a hell of a performance, playing all the old-school hits from Lucy Ford and God Loves Ugly and performing like a young, hungry MC.

Aside: The guy behind you asking his buddy at the beginning of every song, “Is this new?” as in is this from the new album, has got to be one of the most annoying things at a show. That and singing so loudly to the only words that he does know that you can’t even hear the artist.

The song compilation on this album reminded me of Eminem‘s Relapse – five listenable songs, five straight songs to skip before playing out the last four. I wouldn’t think it’d be similar to a screenplay, having the second act be the most challenging, because tracks are largely independent of each other. But it happens so often with music albums. Slug has no plans to hang ’em up in the near future so it’ll be interesting to see his music evolve to his somewhat domesticated present.

Favorite tracks: The Last to Say, Just for Show, She’s Enough

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Perhaps, Brother Ali was just kidding when he made his outrageous claim about this as the best song ever because he’s in the music video. But still. Easily the hottest jam on the album.

BJ

June 21, 2011

New music

The new Maroon 5 single was released today featuring Christina Aguilera. It’s a pretty fresh hit, and frankly, I’m surprised by it because I thought they were done making new music. But I’m not complaining.

I know this song is bumping heavy on the radio right now, but got to give it up for Wiz Khalifa and my current jam. I love his flow, and he’s a pretty good rapper from the three songs that I’ve heard. This is his second single off his debut studio album, which received okay reviews.

BJ

June 14, 2011

Conan O’Brien delivers commencement address

Celebrities often receive honorary degrees and give commencement addresses to universities, and I never really care for them. But my friend posted Conan O’Brien‘s commencement address to Dartmouth on Sunday, and I was blown away by my favorite talk show host’s nonstop humor, impressive recitation of the university’s history and eloquent speaking.

Anyway, worth a watch, and a damn fine person to speak at any event. At times, the resemblance to an Allan speech from The Hangover is uncanny, which only adds to Coco’s humor.

BJ

June 13, 2011

NPH shines as host of Tony Awards

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 2:15 pm
Tags: ,

Another reason why NPH is the best host out there right now and is the most practical solution to host the next Oscars.

By the way, Brooke Shields should be stuffed into a cannon and shot into space.

BJ

June 7, 2011

The Screenwriting Conference at The Great American Pitchfest

I spent last Saturday at this free, all-day conference at the Marriott Convention Center in Burbank. Why is it free, you ask? The actual pitchfest where you pay $50-$250 for unlimited pitches to studio execs. was the next day, and as for the speakers, they all have their own ridiculously expensive classes you can sign up for. (Don’t worry. None of the plugs are longer than a line.) It was informative to say the least, and the classes I focused on were representation for the new writer and how to pitch because contrary to popular belief, you don’t just sit back when you get an agent. You got to go to the meetings too and kick ass.

I walked into the first class just as it began and took a seat. The first person to talk to me that day was a guy who could’ve been in his 50’s lean over to me after a couple of girls walked in after me and said, “Mm, twins.” I knew it was going to be a good day.

From what I was told that day, here is the cut that each position takes, and they tell you that you need all of them.

Manager – 15% (Get him first because they can get you the agent and more than agents, they’re the ones that look for new talent. They can also hook you up with producers.)
Agent – 10%
Attorney – 5% (or hourly rate) (To review any legal documents.)

It’s a lot, but I’m still making more than I am now. Said by the panel, who I’ll get to later.

After a couple of classes, it was lunchtime. As I was backing up in the parking lot, I saw a guy hold a Baja Fresh drink so I asked him where it was. I don’t remember eating Baja Fresh too many times in my life, but what a mistake thinking it was like Rubio’s. I paid $9.50 for the cheapest steak burrito and soda, and it would’ve been a real crummy meal for $4.50. There was hardly any steak, their salsa bar and soda machine sucked, and it was all half-assed shit at a premium fast food price.

I was so close to going straight home because sitting in a classroom all day is both physically and mentally draining, but I decided to stick it out for one and a half more classes. I hadn’t actually heard from managers themselves what they actually do and look for, only others telling me what managers do and look for so I know I’d pick up on a thing or two by sticking around. The panel consisted of a manager, a producer and a couple others who had writing, acting and directing credits.

The manager reminded me exactly of Eric Murphy from Entourage, speaking fast in a raspy voice, almost in a nervous rush. He and the producer both talked about how busy they are, how many scripts they have waiting for them to read in their car and their bag right now. It’s amazing how many people in the business not a single person outside of it has ever heard of are millionaires, which is the feeling I got from the producer. And that he was gay.

The fourth and last class was a lot about nothing so I got the hell out of there. But all in all, it was a pretty cool source of free information. Forget the pitchfest, though. The goal is to have my second screenplay ready by the middle of next week.

BJ

June 6, 2011

The Hangover Part II review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 10:59 pm
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It’s easy to write this off as an awful movie, which many people have told me, and I just have one thing to say.

You snobs.

When you can get past the fact that this movie is not as good as the original, which we all should’ve expected, it is as good a comedic sequel as one can really get. You’re familiar with all the lovable characters so what’s funnier than the movie opening with Phil getting his teeth cleaned by Stu, aka Dr. Faggot? They wisely focused on making Allan the source of most of the humor, which even the haters have to agree worked out. And the outrageous level was pretty high in this one too. Mr. Chow’s penis for at least a good ten seconds? C’mon.

As for repeating the exact same formula as the first and the lack of originality, Todd Phillips was adamant about copying the structure and specific moments from the original, such as Tracy making the call to the guys again after their blacked out night, them encountering another animal, Stu solving the puzzle followed by another of the guys’ wedding, among other things.

The story was a little forced at times–I didn’t know muscle relaxers had the same effect as roofies–Allan conveniently had notecards on power outages in Thailand and they got a Korean (Jamie Chung) and a Chinese (Mason Lee) to play Thai, which is always laughable when they accommodate Asian ethnicities like so.

I was surprised to find that Lee, whose unskilled acting made me really anxious watching him in his feature debut, is the son of Ang Lee.

Chung went to school with my friends at UC Riverside and is in my sister’s sorority. My friend said Chung is fine in real life, but he’s uncredible because he has an ugly girlfriend. I’ve seen some pictures where she looks cross-eyed and weird at times, but as far as her career goes, she’s coming up. Having already come out with Sucker Punch earlier this year, she’ll be in three movies in the next year, starring alongside Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rob Lowe.

The Hangover fanbase is huge, making it one of the biggest box-office openings ever. And it’s an R-rated comedy. I watched it with my friend’s 7-year-old son at 11p. It’s okay. He’s a precocious one. I once failed to fix one of his toys, and he frustratingly said to me, “C’mon, Bryan. You’re a smart guy.” I wanted to slap him and hi-five him at the same time.

Phillips made $10 million against 10% first dollar gross. The salary’s great, but it must be unreal to earn $20 million over a weekend sitting back and watching your movie explode. And it’ll only continue to rise. Yes, there are talks for a Hangover Part III, and as much as I hate the idea too, Phillips did say it would be a finale and it would not follow the same template of the first two, which would be the correct decision at this point.

Rotten Tomatoes currently holds a 35% rating for the movie, which is an absolute joke, much like the site itself. In short, Phillips gets it done again and is near the top of the list in comedic directors, somewhere above Adam McKay and below Judd Apatow.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

BJ

June 3, 2011

Fast Five review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 2:45 am
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The fifth movie in the highly successful franchise is by far the best-rated movie of the bunch and an amazingly rated movie on its own. Universal went big on this one, handing Justin Lin, who directed his third straight Fast movie, a $125 million budget, and in turn, it had an impressive box office haul. It also intended to make this a transition movie where the street racing will take a back seat to the heist genre a la The Italian Job. That’s right, there will be at least several more sequels.

I thought the movie was highly enjoyable between the action,┬áplot twists and standout performance from newcomer Dwayne Johnson. I even found unintended humor from the cheeseball one-liners. As with the previous movies, you have to overlook the ridiculous death-defying moments, which this movie is not short of. Well, that and a plethora of eye candy. Jordana Brewster‘s still my girl of choice.

It executed where it needed to as a heist movie. Fast Six is still a lock for $100 million if this movie sucked, but there’s no question that the viewership approval for this movie will bring them back for the next to contend with records and milestones that this one set.

Goof: Johnson would destroy Vin Diesel in a real fight.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

BJ

June 2, 2011

The Ascension

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 7:36 pm

I know I’m going on a bit of a religious bashing phase here, and because it’s Ascension Day today, I thought it’d be fitting to share an incident I had this past Saturday.

Based on a True Story

EXT. COLORADO BLVD — SANTA MONICA, CA — AFTERNOON

A KOREAN MAN (40’s) stands on the corner of a busy walking intersection passing out papers and spreading the word of God.

RELIGIOUS MAN
(handing paper)
Believe in Jesus?

A MAN doesn’t accept the paper and walks by with his SIGNIFICANT OTHER.

Enter BRYAN (unabashed, confrontational), who sees the religious man right in his path and anticipates him by continuing to walk in it.

RELIGIOUS MAN
(handing paper)
Believe in Jesus?

Bryan takes the paper and throws it out into the street. As he walks away…

RELIGIOUS MAN
(smiling)
Remember Jesus died for you.

BRYAN
Shut the hell up.

Bryan walks on, as a WHITE WOMAN (30’s) walking next to Bryan laughs to herself.

FADE OUT

BJ

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