Friday, June 30, 2006

No Bones About It: The Suck House

My dad and I have a long standing joke. He once made a sarcastic comment to me about how the two most awesome actors in the world were Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. A discussion ensued that detailed our mutual perplexion (I don't care if that's not a real word, I'm MAKING it a real word for my own purposes) over how Keanu Reeves continues to be cast in roles other than in action films. The now-commonly-used phrase around my house was born: "What director is reading a script and says, 'You know what this movie really needs? Keanu. Reeves.' "

We use this phrase very loosely now, but the all-encompassing nature of The Reeves is still captured. Case in point: our cluttered museum of a living room. What started out as a blank canvas less than a year ago has become a boneyard (no pun intended) of quirky inside jokes that bring joy to my heart and are great conversation starters. It all started with the Viking Ship, and spread from there: the Tasty signs, the Blaze foam finger, the mechanical battery operated Rocky, the mannequin heads, the grappling hook, the framed picture of the Geico caveman, etc. I thought our house couldn't be more perfect, until one day I came across a dusty back issue of Entertainment Weekly: the Photo Issue. I was flipping through the pages of celebrities, and I couldn't help but think, 'You know what this magazine really needs?' But before I could finish my internal monologue.... Jackpot. There he was, in all his Vaya Con Dios-ness, The Reeves himself. Well, I think you know what happened after that. Suffice it to say that after a quick comment to my roommate ("You know what our house really needs?"), our house is now complete, glossy frame and all.

But I digress. The point of this post is to express my extreme disappointment at the performance given by The Reeves in The Suck House. I mean, The Lake House. Now, don't get me wrong. I think Keanu is an amazing action film addition - my favorite roles (after Bill & Ted, of course) are in The Matrix and Speed. I even watched Speed on the Spanish channel just to see Keanu in all his glory. He's even good in Something's Gotta Give, but I can't understand why he keeps getting cast in these B-rate mushy love stories. He's a looker, that's a given, but his over-acting is more distracting than anything else. If you need to be convinced of this point, just watch Constantine - his awesome fake-smoking will literally blow you away, and his coughing fits are just a thing of beauty.

Despite these low points, the disasterously sappy films, I keep going back for more Keanu. No matter how badly he lets me down, I can't help but love him. I feel like a battered girlfriend: I always have such high hopes for him, like maybe this time it will be different. And good old Keanu, he never fails to deliver. If he wasn't so good looking, I'd have pretty much zero incentive to see any new film of his. Except maybe to see what delicious bodily functions will be blown out of proportion this time (sneezing, coughing, crying, etc. Those seem to be his strong points).

At the end of The Lake House (SPOILER ALERT: which ends on one of the most awkward movie kisses I have EVER seen. We're talking face-smashing at it's best here, folks.) Janay and I literally were hysterical through the entire reel of credits. To the point of tears streaming down and wheezing old-man laughing. I think Janay said it best when she said, "What did we expect? We have only ourselves to blame."

This isn't to say that the premise of the movie sucks, it just didn't do anything for me. Sandra Bullock is so cute and oddly hip that she makes up for the lack of personality behind Keanu. And it has to be said: he's a naturally handsome guy, so why do they insist on dressing him in such bad turtlenecks?? Maybe we'll never truly understand.

The bottom line: wait for video on this one, but it's worth it just to see Keanu sneeze.

Sidenote: I hope this doesn't give the impression that I think Keanu sucks, in fact, I read an article that really changed my view of him for the better. Check it out:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Have at 'em!

This one goes out to Handy Andi in Dallas. It's one of my favorite articles about the T.O. battle. It's from the S.I. website, published in March.

T.O. had to go
Terrell Owens killed the Eagles; good luck, Cowboys
Posted: Tuesday March 21, 2006 5:16PM; Updated: Tuesday March 21, 2006 5:57PM

My name is Ethan, and I'm a recovering Terrell Owens addict. In the happy days when he was the centerpiece of the Philadelphia Eagles and the anchor of my fantasy football team, there was no one I enjoyed watching more every Sunday than T.O. It was a guilty pleasure, the kind of thing where you have to make sure no one's looking, like drinking milk from the carton or guessing Andy Reid's pant size, but it was a pleasure nonetheless. For the duration of the 2004 season and the first weeks of 2005, I was pretty sure that if T.O. couldn't fly, he could at least hover.

Then he wrecked both the real and fantasy seasons and nearly tore apart his entire team. In Philly, he's about as popular as dysentery, but without the upside of hilarious Oregon Trail jokes. However, he did one nice thing for Eagles fans on the way out the door: He went to division rival Dallas and became their problem. If the NFL's best receiver (apologies to Chad Johnson, who still has the game's most valuable teeth) has to split, he might as well take his traveling sabotage show to an up-and-coming team in a tight division.

Yes, Owens could certainly be the missing piece for Dallas. When he's on, he opens up the entire offense, and he's good for at least two or three extra wins a year. He plays extremely hard, never takes a down off and has abilities that border on superhuman. The problem is, when he's off, no one can be more detrimental to his team, short of walking through the locker room and manually tearing teammates' ACLs.

Most comments I've seen on the deal seem to say that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys pulled off a major coup in getting the big-play threat they sorely needed. Everyone is convinced that Owens will now be on his best behavior. Building your entire season on the premise that T.O. won't do anything crazy is as dangerous as juggling scalpels, items Jones usually likes to save for performing plastic surgery. It's not unreasonable to think that Dallas could be getting 100 catches, 15 touchdowns and only one blasphemous instance of Owens comparing himself to Jesus, whose bitter holdout from training camp with the Apostles over a contract dispute was left out of the Bible, I guess. The contract is only offering Him seven loaves and two fishes? He's got an entire arena to feed!

However, if the bad version of T.O. shows up, the Cowboys are done. Don't forget that when he's in peak form, Owens can reach a level of insanity that would make Ron Artest say, "Damn ... can't they find him a therapist or something?" to his coworkers at Circuit City. He's done shirtless sit-ups in his driveway while fielding media questions. He stabbed Ray Lewis and the Ravens in the back, then went out of his way to antagonize one of the scariest men in the NFL by copping his pregame dance. He severed ties with Donovan McNabb, a man who could have made his dreams come true, provided they were all soup-related. When the Cowboys visit the Linc this year and Owens is showered with the kind of boos Philly fans ordinarily reserve for Santa, there's a decent chance Owens could try to fight everyone in the stadium, possibly with the aid of a flamethrower. He's set the bar so high that you have no idea what's coming next.

Dallas fans got a little taste of Evil T.O. a few years back when he stomped on their star logo after scoring, and that was before he began solidifying his résumé for the Jerk Hall of Fame.
People have floated the argument that if the Cowboys and their fans could put up with the last generation's flamboyant wideout in Michael Irvin, they're prepared for T.O. The comparison is easy, but not quite on the money. Irvin had, and apparently still has, tons of personal problems, but he was a solid teammate. You can hate Irvin's too-cozy relationship with current players in his role as an analyst and wonder if he sleeps in a Steve Smith jersey. You can look at his choice of suits and wonder if he even owns a mirror. However, you can't discount Troy Aikman's campaigning for Irvin's Hall of Fame enshrinement. It's hard to imagine Jeff Garcia going to Canton to make a similar plea for Owens, although T.O. would probably publicly offer to pay for the gas for Garcia's Miata.

Which brings up the question I'm really curious about: How did the Cowboys brass break the news to Drew Bledsoe that they'd signed Owens? "Great news, Drew! We got you a deep threat. Now, throw to him at least 10 times a game or he'll start a rumor that you hunt the elderly for sport." Hopefully Bledsoe is more adept at dodging verbal assaults than an oncoming pass rush, or it could be a long season of jabs from the receiver who's built like a Greek statue at the quarterback who moves like one. Dallas will know things are turning sour if Owens alludes to the team being better if Brett Favre was their QB, and they're always one under-thrown ball away from Owens asking a reporter, "Can we get some Joey Harrington up in here?"

Furthermore, if Owens is serious about buckling down and trying to be a good teammate instead of a distraction, then why has he recorded an anti-Eagles rap and announced the release of a new tell-all book about his time in Philly immediately prior to the season? Perhaps he's just trying to get that Pulitzer that eluded his last literary effort, 2004's Catch This!, but Ineligible Receiver will only stir up more controversy. No word on whether he's started writing it yet, but it probably took most of the offseason to come up with a title that clever.
For the sake of Dallas fans, I hope the good version of T.O. shows up for at least a season; it's an incredible feeling knowing that literally any snap could turn into six points when he's on the field. I'd recommend holding off on an 81 Cowboys jersey just yet, though; because of a similar investment, a lot of people around Philly are going to be dressing their scarecrows in rather expensive duds this fall.

No Bones About It: Superman Returns


It's not really summer until you hit that first midnight screening of a film you've been dying to see. By "dying to see", I mean that for the past year, you've poured over every Entertainment Weekly article that mentions the film, scoured the internet for any tid bit of insider information you can find, prepped everyone you know to the brink of insanity on just how awesome this movie is going to be! Everytime you see the trailer, you grab the arm of the person next to you and fiercely whisper, "I can't WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!" Your friends are sick of hearing you talk about it, your roommate will punch you if she hears you say, "I grew up watching the original on Beta!" one more time, and you just can't get enough of it. You are unfazed by their rolling eyes and uninterested sighs, and come screening time, you have no tolerance or patience for tardiness. You are a movie nerd, and your Summer Movie Season has officially begun.

Last year, the film I was dying to see was Batman Begins. I lived, breathed, and slept Batman to the tune of close to $100 spent on theater tickets. Janay and I celebrated our Batmanniversary just a few weeks ago, marking one year to the day that we saw our first midnight screening. Few things have brought more joy to my heart or goosebumps to my arms over the past year than Batman. Until now.

For me, I know a film is good if my face hurts when I leave the theater, from having the ecstatic, full-face grin plastered on my face for the past two and a half hours, thrilled to death just to be there. And folks, let me tell you, when Superman Returns ended in the wee hours of this morning, my face hurt. It hurt so good.

The entire experience was everything I had hoped for and more, starting with the trailers. (What?? you're saying, The trailers??? Just hang in there with me.) The teaser for Spider-Man 3 took me back to a movie going experience from about a year and a half ago. I'd gone to see Sin City on opening night with a sold-out crowd of hard-core graphic novel fans. One of the previews was the extended trailer for the newest Star Wars film that would be coming out. It was a fantastic trailer, but this was not the kind of audience that would be very excited by anything Star Wars-esque. After three minutes of light sabres and Ewan McGregor, the trailer ended and the audience was dead quiet. Never before and never since have I experienced such silence. Without missing a beat, a guy in the crowd shouted, "Does anyone NOT have a boner?" It was pretty much the most awesome thing I've ever heard. Case in point: that's how I felt watching the Spider-Man 3 teaser. It looks amazing, and I'm excited to see summer 2007.

Back to Superman, its hard for me to know where to begin. The action sequences and CGI were incredible and seamless, and the rest of the film was visually stunning. Brandon Routh is my new favorite super hero (sorry Christian). His likeness to Christopher Reeves is unbelievable, right down to the awkward mannerisims of Clark Kent. There was a lot of humor mixed in, which helped to ease the tension between catastrophes. I just can't get over the special effects - some of the coolest I've ever seen, and every sequence made Superman's feats seem truly real, like he was within reach.

I can't say enough good things about the film, just that I'll probably go see it again tonight. Hello, my name is Sarah, and I'm a Movie Nerd.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


In honor of Gloriana's upcoming cross-country trip:

Dear Mr. President,

At the birth of our nation, the founding fathers sought to foster a land of freedom, integrity, justice, and most importantly, beauty. This country offers some of the most majestic and varied landscapes in the world, abundant with spacious skies and amber waves of grain.

However, there is one place where the grain is less than amber and the skies reek of dead, dead eyes. I don’t think I stand alone when I say that Nebraska is an eye-sore; a bruise on the apple of America, and it should be banned!

I believe a state should meet certain qualifications in order to be called one of “The Nifty Fifty”. First and foremost, a state should lend more to the scenery than corn, tobacco, and cows. Obviously, Nebraska is already out of the running in this category. What more persuasion is needed?

On more than one occasion, I have ventured in a cross-country drive, and much to my despair, it seems that there is just no way around Nebraska. My angst and desperation as I approach the state is so great that I pray for a tornado to come and suck my car up, then spit me out, hopefully clearing the state entirely. Unfortunately, this heavenly-by-comparison fantasy never comes to fruition, and I am forced to endure hours of monotonous scenery that is flatter than my chest. And, let's be frank, no one likes a flat chest. That’s how bad Nebraska is.

Mr. President, if we enforce a ban on Nebraska, citizens would never again suffer needlessly, and be driven to the brink of insanity by being forced to travel through this monstrosity. The best thing to come out of Nebraska has been basketball, and I think we can all agree that those boys would be of much better use in a setting that doesn’t so closely resemble my version of Hell. I urge you to consider banning Nebraska - the state who's greatest accomplishment is growing more corn than Kansas.

One of my dreams has just been shattered. Andi informed me that on the set of "Walker, Texas Ranger", all of the doorways are smaller in order to make Chuck Norris look taller. What is this world coming to?

Andi told me to try and post something, but I don't want to do it just because she told me to. She's not my puppet master.