This is for Brody!
The rules to this year’s scavenger hunt are simple. Each team is issued a garden gnome and given three hours to race around town taking pictures of their gnome with any number of elements from the list. For each element in the photo, points will be multiplied. (example: a topless girl by a roaring fire with your Gnome is worth 20pts. Your gnome with James Taylor praying for rain is worth 400pts.) There is no limit to the number of elements that can be contained in a picture, but you can only score points for any given element once – so no driving around with James Taylor to multiply everything by 40.
With something that makes me laugh 2 pts
With a sign that says SPRING somewhere in it 2 pts
With an APD Officer 2 pts
Next to a roaring fire 2 pts
On top of one of those newfangled parking meters 2 pts
Enjoying BBQ 2 pts
Waiting in a line with more than 10 people in it 2 pts
In a Canoe (not a Kayak) 2 pts
At a table where people are actively playing D&D 2 pts
Enjoying some pie 2 pts
With a fixed gear bicycle 2 pts
With a Turtle 5 pts
With Krypto the Wonder Dog 5 pts
Riding public transportation 5 pts
A piano in the outdoors 5 pts
A person dressed as the Easter Bunny 5 pts
A person dressed as Jesus 5 pts
Being examined by a doctor 5 pts
Playing Pool 5 pts
In an eastside bar converted from an old house 5 pts
At an Adults Only book/video store 5 pts
On a walkway overlooking a freeway 5 pts
In a store, bar or Restaurant written about by Jen Blair 5 pts
With something that could be described by a single line from a James Taylor song 10 pts
With an Austin Celebrity I don’t work for or with 10 pts
With a type of food I’ve never eaten before 10 pts
With a topless (live) woman 10 pts
On the pitcher’s mound at the Dell Diamond 10 pts
With something handwritten by Tennessee Williams 10 pts
Re-enacting the “This one’s for Brody” scene from MALLRATS 10 pts
With complete strangers praying for Rain as per the Governor’s request 10 pts
With a child dressed as a member of KISS 20 pts
With Musical Legend James Taylor 40 pts
Here in the coming months I’m going to spend a bit of time writing about much that has become of the journalistic world as it crashed headlong into the world of the blogosphere. What started with the best of intentions has gone horribly wrong with entire sections of the environment becoming thoroughly unreliable. Today brings us just such an example of what frustrates so many about how websites handle “the news” in this day and age.
Here is an article published today by Gizmodo about the new e-book prodigy Amanda Hocking. The headline reads:
Omg! That’s incredible. I want to read more! Trouble is, the article is more of a blurb and Gizmodo is only paraphrasing another article by Business Insider titled:
This 26-Year-Old Is Making Millions Cutting Out Traditional Publishers With Amazon Kindle
So let’s head over there, shall we?
Oh shit. That’s also not the original story. Hmm. Turns out Novelr is the first place to actually begin collecting information from a variety of sources…but ultimately isn’t the original source either; The Huffington Post is, along with Hocking’s own blog. Truth is, things have gotten so bad in the blogosphere, that Hocking herself had to print a laundry list of corrections today just to keep the story straight - up to and including getting her age right. Hocking is in the middle of a promotional blitz - she wants her name out there and bloggers need something to write about. She is about to have the very best year of her life, if she can keep this momentum going and use the media to her advantage.
But how do you do that amid of sea of people copying and pasting other people’s stories…or worse, rewriting them so badly that the story changes, details get muddled and the only “reliable” source is the person who benefits most from the creation of her own legend? Because at the end of the day, the only source for how well Hocking is doing is Hocking herself. Not a single person through the chain of blogging has done a stitch of legwork and none of the subsequent bloggers have even noticed.
It’s a weird world we find ourselves in.
If you’re a blogger, trace your story back to its source and verify anything you can. Trust me, most people will take your call and give you a simple yes, no or no comment. They might even give you details others missed or never asked about. But if you won’t take yourself seriously, no one else will. Also be sure to note if a story really has no reliable sources save that of the one benefiting most from it. That’s kind of an important detail.
If you’re a reader, begin to demand more of your news blogs. They should not be run like opinion blogs. If a site regularly rewrites other sources and is never the source themselves, read the sources from which their news originates. Then, by all means, head on back for the opinion the others blogs provide in lieu of journalistic legwork and integrity.
The further I delve into this story, the more absurd it gets.
At first glance, many will think that they’ve seen this already, mistaking it for Neil Marshall’s fun, b-movie romp CENTURION. But they aren’t the same film – they’re not even the same story. Instead, I think they would make one hell of a double feature – CENTURION playing beautifully into THE EAGLE. CENTURION is Marshall’s bloody exploration into what happened to the fabled 9th Legion of Rome that marched into Northern Britain never to return. Marshall’s version hypothesizes (as history is unclear as to the 9ths true fate) that they were slaughtered in an ambush, and follows a few of the survivors as they flee back to Hadrian’s Wall. THE EAGLE, however, takes place 20 years later, as the son of the legion’s General returns to discover the fate of his father in order to restore his family’s honor. And it is a pretty solid action film in its own right.
I do believe that Adam Sandler’s films are getting progressively worse. At this point I find it hard to tell; like that kid who gets his ass kicked on the playground every god damned day and doesn’t know for sure whether the beating was worse yesterday or the day before. What I do know is that something broke inside of Adam Sandler and somewhere along the line he stopped trying to be a comedian and just began coasting as one. It is one thing if someone’s trying and you just don’t find them funny; it is something else entirely when they spend years just phoning it in.
A product of James (A MILLION LITTLE PIECES) Frey’s controversial and exploitive fiction factory Full Fathom Five, I AM NUMBER FOUR takes everything you hate about the Hollywood movie-by-committee system and applies it directly to its source material as well. Everything about it is hollow, artificial and uninspired. And in order to wrap your mind around what exactly went wrong here, you have to know how it was created. After his famous public meltdown in the face of his releasing a fictional memoir - that was both pimped and summarily executed by Oprah Winfrey – Frey set out to use the connections and inroads he’d gained over the years to create a company dedicated towards creating Twilight-flavored Young Adult novels, designed specifically for sale to Hollywood studios. The idea was not to create indelible classics or feature the work of young talented writers – it was to create prepackaged properties designed to be released as a book first and a movie second, with the movie following on its heels by only a few months…
It’s always nice when Criterion pulls out and dusts off one of your deep-fried cinema favorites to give it new life on DVD and Blu-ray, and today is just such a day. James L. Brooks has brought us a number of classics — from television series like Taxi, Rhoda, and Mary Tyler Moore, to films like As Good as it Gets and Terms of Endearment. But for my money, his very best work comes in the form of his 1987 masterpiece Broadcast News.
One of last year’s most tragically ignored films is finally making its way to DVD and Blu-ray. Middle Men is the true story of the guys who changed the Internet forever. No, not the Facebook guys — the guys who wrote a tiny piece of code that allowed people to buy things safely with a credit card over the Internet and put it toward the one thing they knew could make money: pornography. What followed was more money than they had ever dreamed of — and trouble that often follows that much money.
As has been written numerous times, RED STATE isn’t exactly a horror film, though Kevin Smith certainly thinks it is, having argued rather strongly that the ideas he plays around with in it are truly frightening. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that, structurally speaking, it simply isn’t one. What he’s made is satire. Pure, straight from the bottle satire. Far too often people mistake parody for satire and they forget that films like this certainly qualify. RED STATE is Smith’s manifesto on what is wrong with this country, laying bare his fears of what religious and political extremism mean for the future of our society. It is not a nice film nor are its ideas very pretty, but it isn’t horror.
More than any other Ivan Reitman film, NO STRINGS ATTACHED has left me feeling very, very weird. It’s a strange film, and I’m not certain it is supposed to be. Sure, it’s built upon the standard romantic comedy structure that you all by now should be able to recite in your sleep, but the decisions about what fills in the blanks in that tried and true formula are just plain fucking bizarre. And while I laughed at many of the jokes in the film, I still can’t quite put my finger on why I’m not fully digging on it. Something just feels off.
In recent years a powerful, mind-boggling movement has been taking place in film criticism, sweeping into its fold a number of very talented, very intelligent critics. It has been cropping up in reviews, editorials and even the occasional tweet, and gaining a sort of prominence that it does not deserve. Earlier this week, Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci gave it a public face when he notably, and rather wrongly, quipped “…no, a story is not just a series of events that occur in a linear format.” Actually Devin, that’s EXACTLY what a story is. Word for word. A quick perusal of Dictionary.com offers these varied definitions.
1. a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.
2. a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel.
3. such narratives or tales as a branch of literature: song and story.
4. the plot or succession of incidents of a novel, poem, drama, etc.: The characterizations were good, but the story was weak.
5. a narration of an incident or a series of events or an example of these that is or may be narrated, as an anecdote, joke, etc.
6. a narration of the events in the life of a person or the existence of a thing, or such events as a subject for narration: the story of medicine; the story of his life.
7. a report or account of a matter; statement or allegation: The story goes that he rejected the offer.
8. news story.
9. a lie or fabrication: What he said about himself turned out to be a story.
And therein lies the problem with many modern critics: Read more here.
The movie poster, as we’ve long known it, is dead. It has been for quite some time. Sure, the studio marketing departments keep chucking out their grotesque monstrosities, often blitzing movie blogs and news websites with the images in hopes of drumming up interest in their upcoming films — but those aren’t really posters anymore; they’re images. You can still find them, lingering behind dingy plastic windows at the multiplex or chopped up and pasted onto turnstile triangles that flip to reveal a different poster every thirty seconds, but those are just shadows of what posters used to be. They used to be glorious. Evocative. Intriguing. When you looked at one — a good one — it told you everything you needed to know about a movie in order to convince you to see it.
Now? Now posters tell you who is in the film, usually with nothing more than the actor’s big head with their last name emblazoned over the top. There is very little artistry anymore. The studios hire marketing guys, not artists. And the result is a 27” x 40” commercial, not a piece of art.
Enter Mondo Tees…
Most critics spend days crafting their top ten list and minutes shitting out a worst of. I spend a week crafting my worst of, and an hour debating the best. That’s how I roll. Click here to see why.