Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My love affair with Pizza Hut

As a kid I was deprived of many things. That made the little things that much more special. I have been told that the town council where I grew up had a "no chain restaurants" ordinance in place. During my high school years we had a Pizza Ranch and Blimpies. That was the extent of chains allowed in town. So travelling 15 miles south to the county seat was a special event. It meant a possibility of stopping for Pizza Hut.

Most nights I had family dinner at the dinner table. It was always at 6:00 and it was an expansive revolving menu. I think my folks liked Pizza Hut for the fact that it was a sit down place, serviced kids and made us happy. I would love nothing more right now than to have a Donkey Kong or Ms Pac Man table arcade game in my home. You know what I'm talking about. Not the regular ones, the flat ones.

In 1989 Pizza Hut got into the toy game with Back to the Future sunglasses.

I was 11 years old so not only was it cool to be getting a new Back To The Future movie, but to be able to have a piece of the action...amazing. Sadly, the first pair I got were the pink ones. Those were immediately handed down to my sister. No, I wanted the yellow circle ones. They were like Dwayne Wayne's glasses from A Different World. I tried to buy those too from Spencer Gifts but could never pull the trigger. Thank heaven. I finally did get those sunglasses from Pizza Hut. I maybe wore them twice. But still, I got them.

In college, we'd trek to the Pizza Hut for lunch buffet. I was finally in a bigger town (or an actual city). We'd go to the local Hut about once a week or so. We'd wait like ravenous vultures as every new pizza arrived on the buffet table. The best part was with a soda the total cost was $6.66. Ha.

For a short time I was in the delivery zone for Lincoln Park's Pizza Hut on Broadway. One day I noticed a lot of black smoke coming from the Dominick's general direction. Yeah, the grocery burned down and did just enough damage to the neighboring Pizza Hut that it was condemned as well. They still haven't built a new one, as promised, many years ago.

Then my roommate did the smartest thing imaginable. He bought a house. He took my other roommate and I with him. And we landed right on the cusp of a new Pizza Hut delivery zone. I recently ordered from the hut and from ordering to delivery it took 20 minutes. Amazing.
Sadly, I will be leaving the zone in a few months. Which means I will look forward to the day when I enter a new zone (possibly p'zone?) and get some hot fresh pizza from my favorite pizza chain. You can have your Gino's East, I'll take my Hut.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pete Yorn gets torn by Casey (guest reviewer)

Pete Yorn’s new album, Back and Forth, is yet another tribute to every person who has had a rollercoaster relationship that’s ended in catastrophe. Sound familiar? It should, because it’s the same as his previous two albums.

In the song Country, Pete sings, "It was always me and you... And the days we were living, we were happy." In Long Time Nothing New, Yorn says, "Same old town... Loose sense surround me... Always dragged ya down….." Bitch and moan. Bitch and moan.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still Yorn’s matchless voice, but the lyrics are old. Old lyrics coupled with lackadaisical folky-blues is an equation for ambivalence. Who wants to spend $9.99 on ambivalence?It’s hard to hear the same crooning, haunting voice that made his first album, Musicforthemorningafter, so incredible. Back and Forth is faced with a lack of exciting music and rhythm.

Sadly, Pete is quoted as saying his music is “growing up and maturing.” If this is his grown up sound, then Pete is depressed and spending too much time with Damien Rice. The majority of the songs on Back and Forth leave the listener heavy and/or bored.

Only a few songs stand out as exceptional and worth adding to your collection. Therefore, I’d recommend you download

1. Last Summer
2. Rooftop
3. Don’t Wanna Cry (the “good” depressing song)

Save the rest of your money for The Dead Weather’s album, Horehound, releasing July 14th.

Casey Mo

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Proposal

How can you not be in love with a guy like that (picture supplied for Josh's benefit)? Ryan Reynolds is one of the most charasmatic people acting today. Anyone who ever saw Two Guys a Girl...(Pizza Place went on to do a spinoff) knew that he was destined for great things. It's not easy to upstage Nathan Fillion!

My brother likes to see himself as a Iowa version of Ryan Reynolds (and he might not be wrong). He's like Austin Powers, women want him and men want to be him. If for no other reason than he's dating ScarJo, I mean, come on.

But how's his new movie? Meh. He definitely saves it from being trash. If someone else had been playing his role, the movie would have fallen out of the sky like SkyLab (topical). I would say it's better than his last romantic lead Definitely Maybe.

In typical romantic comedy style, woman has trouble with INS, uses her abused Admin Asst to have a green card marriage. Hilarity ensues.

Also, as useless as Malin Ackerman usually is, she is in this movie to only earn a paycheck. At least Betty White, Coach and Doc Brown's wife have things to do. The standout would probably be Oscar Munez from the Office. He works harder than anyone I have ever seen. But hey, its Alaska. They don't have a lot of people.

Not worth your trouble in theaters because there is a lot of better stuff out there right now. Put it on the queue and wait for DVD.

Did you enjoy it?
Yes, mariginally.

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you rent it?

Would you buy it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?
Yes, but turn it quickly unless its the part where the...(I won't spoil it but it involves a dog).

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Watch Them So You Don't Have To

I miss my childhood. I don't understand the film industry. I wish I wasn't a slave to the media. This movie like all other adaptations will have it's critics. Most of the time (at least on the Internet) it comes from the frustration that a million stories have been told about these characters. And since its a new medium (comic / cartoons to big screen) you could cherry pick all the good stuff and make something new. That is why Marvel Studios continues to show their genius.

What does this movie have? Farting robots. Pooping robots. Crying robots. Racistly portrayed robots. Backtalking robots. Robot testicles. I didn't make a single one of those things up.

Also its 2 hours and 29 minutes long (plus the now standard 20 minutes of previews).

And you know what, I'm going to spoil the plot for you for two reasons. One reason is that the "plot" takes up about 2 minutes of the runtime. And also, because if you're going to see it, you're not going because you heard the plot was awesome. The Decepticons want to destroy the sun to manufacture energon. Remember energon cubes!?!?!? Well, we don't get to see any. Mentioned only in passing.

The mixture of Michael Bay to Steven Spielberg is way out of proportion this time. The first movie seemed like it was born of two worlds (like A.I., which Milbo loves!!!). After the first one made kajillions, MB (Bay and I are very tight) went balls out (literally in the case of Devastator).

I dare anyone to guess 100% whether each Transformer on screen is a Autobot or Decepticon during fight scenes. Even during the slow mo fighting it still takes a second or two to orient yourself. There are millions of colors available to all automobiles. Use some. Not all jets are silver.

It's just mostly sad to see such a wasted opportunity. Especially with the money they get to make these things. They only made one correction this time. They added Soundwave and he shoots out one of his notorious animals from his chest. That's it. I think the reason I am sick today is that my body had a physical response to the film.

If you liked the first one, you'll most likely enjoy the second one. I am not a fan, but still had to get in to this one with the hope it was better than what came before it. Not the case.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you rent it?

Would you buy it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shamon, Shamon Forever. (updated 7/1/09)

The King of Pop is dead.

In middle school my cousin Matt and I did a lip sync rendition of Man in the Mirror for Music Class. My friend Josh had a Michael Jackson calendar that we pulled apart and hung the pictures in our rooms (after the calendar year, obviously). One of the few full length LPs I remember at my house as a child was Thriller (you folded it out to see him laying on his side at full length, with a baby tiger). I watched Moonwalker at my friend Nick's house every time I was over there.

He's influenced thousands of artists. He's been named dropped by Ben Folds. He's been mimic'd even to this day (well, maybe not actually today) on shows like SNL and South Park.

Seven of the Nine Tracks on Thriller made it to the top ten Billboard charts.

Yeah, he was a weird dude. But the boy could sing. Here's the video from my favorite song.

I just watched the 3D adventure from Walt Disney World "Captain Eo" on YouTube. Two trivia facts. It was written by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. It was directed by Frank as well. Yowsers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Donnie Darko, Southland Tales and now....

I am a fan of the movie Donnie Darko. Snuck up on me when I first moved to Chicago. I seeked out Southland Tales...and I'm glad I did. Boy is it amazingly weird.

Now I hope Richard Kelly returns to form with a movie called The Box. Please enjoy the trailer here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Drag Your Friends to This Movie!!!

Drag Me to Hell is exactly what it says. The story of a girl who is cursed by a gypsy (do we still have those?) and in 3 days will be taken to hell.

You know I don't need to say anything else. Sam Raimi started his career with the Evil Dead movies. I know you girls just rolled your heads but the movies are really good. They are one part Three Stooges and one part Exorcist.

Its rated PG-13 which a lot of horror fans have bemoaned. And with good cause. Most of the time you want R rating to see some movie magic gore. If its PG-13 in most cases it's terrible. Not here. There are some jump scares and soundtrack noises but...the good thing is that the heroine can hear them too. Its not like they turn it up to scare the audience, you get to endure the same things she does.

There is no real gore, but some genuine scares. I laughed as much as I jumped in my chair. If you enjoy being scared I suggest you seek this out in theatres or put it on your Netflix queue now.

Did you enjoy it?
Yes Yes Yes

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you rent it?

Would you buy it?
Maybe so that I could loan it out to friends

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fine...I Got One

This morning around 3 I woke up to the thundering storm. I lazily moved to the edge of my bed to see if the rain was coming in. It was not. So I fell asleep at the foot of my bed. Because of recent work related restlessness I was up around 6am to start the day.

I had always planned on upgrading to the 3Gs because 1- I'm using the first Gen iPhone 2- my plan is almost up, which allows me get the discounted new customer rate and 3- bigger, faster, stronger. (Bonus points for not having a recessed headphone jack anymore, yay)

I had not planned on waiting in line for a shopping spree and Children's Palace to get one. As I walked from the train to work as I often do, I noticed four things. The first was that the AT&T store was open in anticipation for the phone going on sale. Second was that there was a sign on the door stating "Line for iphones starts here". The third thing I noticed was no one was in that line. The fourth thing I noticed was the store was busy but not that busy.

So I kept on trekking in to work. As I got closer to the office I saw the Apple Store (two blocks from the AT&T store). The line was around the block. So I casually turned around and went back to the AT&T store. I walked in, the lady greeting people said "How can I help you?" and that was it. 20 minutes later I had the new phone.

I wanted to walk by the line and tell them they could just as easily go two blocks away and get their phone. No need to wait. No need to panic. But I knew that if I did they would most certainly say that they want to get their phone from the Apple Store.

More power to ya!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Labyrinth puts a Spell on Mark (guest reviewer)

I found this on IMDB regarding David Bowie: "He himself also seems to have lost interest in movie acting."

And with good reason. Jeff and I decided to follow up our midnight Music Box viewing of "The Dark Crystal" with a midnight viewing of "Labyrinth". I was amazed that there were about 40 other people in the theatre, much more than TDC brough in, maybe even more than the midnight "Blade Runner" showing about a year ago. Jeff claims it's Bowie fanatics, I guess, but that would be like Bruce Willis fanatics (Jeff) going to see Hudson Hawk. Even if you like the guy, why would you want to watch one of his worst performances?

I love "The Dark Crystal", it's puppetry, the storyline, the spooky/creepy feeling you get while watching it. Labyrinth also gives you a spooky/creepy feeling, but that is mostly a result of the gratuitous crotch shots of David Bowie in his skin tight leotard. I'm talking like more than 10 close ups of Bowies hangdown. Gross. And yes, I like Jennifer Connelly as much as the next guy, but were talking a near pre-pubescent Jennifer Connolly, not the "Career Opportunities" Jenniffer Connelly of my dreams. On top of the crotch shots, there is a scene at the end where Bowie and Connelly are in this like dream, dance, masquerade thing where Bowie is trying seduce her. In the movie she plays this young girl, so it's just weird and creepy in a whole other new and terrible way.

I struggled to stay for the entire film, it was that bad. If I never hear "Magic Dance" again it will be too soon. How in the hell did that make it into the movie? Easily the worst song ever, and again with the Bowie crotch shots throught the musical number.

If you remember this movie from your childhood as anything positive, don't watch it again, you will be dissapointed. If you've never seen it, don't. I wish I hadn't. At least we had a Thax sighting. Always good to see him. Good o'l Thax. And he was not in a leaotard.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you rent it?

Would you buy it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?

--With Regards,

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Room is coming!

Last year my friend Joel made mention of a movie that had been steadily been gaining comic momentum in Cali over the past few years. The billboard was a staple of Los Angeles for many years, even so much as to show up on some establishing shots of LA during a reality show known as The Hills.

My first introduction was of course to watch the trailer. That was all it took for me to be hooked. The legend has it that Tommy Wiseau originally intended it to be a serious drama. Comedians out west got wind of it somehow and kept suggesting it to friends. It has just kept growing in infamy. There is no way the payoff will meet my expectations. Fortunately, its coming to Chicago...twice.

It will be here at the end of the month and again at the end of July. I can't make the weekend in June, but nothing can stop me from seeing it in July. I am still kicking myself for missing The Cartoon Network Adult Swim airing on April Fool's Day at midnight.

But this will be better. A group of people witnessing cinematic greatness together. The DVD is available on Amazon.com for purchase, but the reason I held off was in the hopes that a screening would come to Chicago. This is one of the reasons I live here, so I can be a part of this thing.

I have some links below. If you have time to only read one, obviously you go with the Wikipedia one. Do you remember a time when Wikipedia didn't exist? I call those the Dark Ages.
See you all at the Music Box in JULY!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Living in the Land of the Lost

My recollection of the original series Land of the Lost was mostly contained to "ugh, cartoons are over and now this stupid show is on". Even as a kid I seem to remember just how terrible it was. Which, as I have mentioned previously on this blog, makes it one of the perfect targets for a remake. There is plenty of room to improve from the source material.

The new movie starring Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Anna Friel and Jorma Taccone is very funny. They do well with some outrageous humor. This is like the Dark Knight of PG-13 comedies. There is the one mouthed F bomb. The humor is definitely not for kids that the original show was targeted.

What some critics have been probably complaining about (haven't read any reviews but heard they were pretty bad) is that the movie is weird. Just like the TV show, there is a lot of strange things going on. Its all over the place. But if you've seen one second of the TV show you know that was the case then too.

They stay faithful to the essence of the show. Will and Holly are now grown ups, not kids. Chaka is a jerk hornball. But other than that, you get what you got. I noticed in the theatre that Mark and I were the loudest laughers (I beat everyone except my papa in the loud laugh dept). There was a lot of quiet. To be fair there weren't a lot of people there either. It was a matinee in the middle of the week. We were the first people to sit down and only a few couples came in after us.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you rent it?

Would you buy it?
Possibly. There would have to be proof of an improv reel with Danny and Will going back and forth.

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?
As long as there weren't any cartoons on.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Truthiness about the new iPhone

Here's a list of things the new iPhone* will do:
AM/ FM radio
wireless battery charging
10 MP HD video
streaming teleconferencing
free calls (incoming & outgoing)
flash movies
work as your reading glasses
carrying your ass home from the bar at 2:00am

*won't actually do any of that.

Eddie Murphy family comedies are the Worst

Who is going to see this Box Office poison at midnight tonight? This really makes me sad. I just read online that a survey conducted by MovieTickets.com (maybe?) has it ranked to be the biggest bomb of the summer. So, lineup now to see the explosion at 12:01am.
Five Midnight showings across the greater Chicago area!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I might finally be interested in Fiery Furnaces

Per the wonderful Stereogum it sounds like Jason Lowenstein of seBADoh produced and bass'd their new album. My old roommate was a fanatic for FF a few years ago. Not sure where they rate on his radar anymore (since he moved out and hates me now).

I have been waiting a long time for seBADoh to come out with just one more album. I saw them on their "no drummer" tour a few years ago. Lou wrote about it for Magnet Magazine. Now Barlow is busy with his old band Dinosaur Jr...ever heard of them (thank you Andy Bernard). I can't be mad that the original lineup for DJ is back together except that it makes us wait that much longer for a possible seBADoh record. Oh well.

*yes, bass'd is a real word. Suck it.

Pork Chops Softball: A Legacy of batting .500

When you think of Chicago you think of three things: The Willis Tower, Deep Dish Pizza and Pork Chops sports teams. As we begin our 8th year as a franchise there is a lot of history to look back over.

Founded in the early Aughts for recreation flag football by namer Eric "Rudy" Ruthier (or Routhier as they spell it in Vermont). The team was composed of a ragtag group of challengers ready to take on all comers. During this time volleyball was also being played as competitive 4s (not yet adopting the name).

Then came the dream team. The sport: kickball. The place: that field out west on Belmont and California? Winning 3 games in a row to shock the NKL and winning the coveted long sleeve tees. The team stood proud atop the league to be crowned #1.

Since then there have been a series of ebb and flow with varying levels of success. Football, kickball, softball. There is the cancelled dodgeball team (pink Durkins shirts still remain as proof). Countless volleyball teams. The worst being a tie between my ill advised work team or the regular squad playing at Disney Magnet versus professional volleyball players. The best being this most recent intermediate season at the Drucker Center. We've found our court and our level. It just took more than two bowls of pourage (i.e. location) to find our spot.

When we put together a softball team 3 years ago, we thought we'd honor the local tradition of trying to play 16" no glove softball. Sara tells me she still wishes she ran off with "The Todd" instead of marrying Joel. They'd have softball for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. Needless to say, we've been finding our groove with softball.

This year is going to be our year. Once again the Pork Chop team will come out the other side with a new crappy long sleeve tee to symbolize our grand achievement!

1,2,3.... CHOP IT UP!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Zack Morris was Frozen in Carbonite

Mark Paul Gosselaar (had to look up that spelling) was on Jimmy Fallon last night as Zack Morris. I stopped taping Fallon a couple weeks ago. I only had room in my mind to watch one show and Conan is back and new so that's what I have been watching. Luckily my Tivo was running so after I watched the delayed Conan I saw the last 30 minutes of Fallon.

I don't know how I have been sleeping so comfortably from under a rock to not know that Fallon is trying to get the whole Saved By The Bell cast to reunite on his show. As of last night he has everyone but Tiffany Amber Thiesen and Dustin Diamond. Thank goodness for Hulu!

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Also, WTF is with MPG? He looks EXACTLY like he did 20 years ago. Now that is impressive. Yeah, the picture above is from last night!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

He getta married!

In 1991 I got a new brother and sister. A 12 year old girl who throws coke cans at my head and a snotty little turd boy (age 9?).  I spent my high school years in a blended family. It was like an unfunny version of the Brady Bunch*. But in honesty it was like mashing up two previously fully formed families. We had a girl and a boy, they had a girl and a boy. We needed a mom. We gained one of those too. But this is the tale of the turd. 

Every family situation is different and I can't give you a comparison to how ours was either*. There were some rocky moments but also a lot of bonding. Long long typical summer vacations in the van for example. 

I remember going to a psychiatrist after our family merged. Apparently I have an anger problem. I only talked to him once. Supposedly I was beating up on Chris too much. The shrink asked me something like "are you taking out your anger that your mom died on Chris?" I didn't laugh in his face, but it still makes me smile to this day. What was misinterpreted to some misplaced anger was really acceptance. I was beating up on him because he was my little brother. That's what big brothers do (until they get super strong Junior year).

Cut to St. Patty's '08. JC comes to visit me in the big city. He's bringing his new "lady" with him. It's not official but he's definitely excited to have her come along. Of course she's a sassy spitfire who can handle her own against him. I was happy to have met her and hoped he wasn't going to screw it up...

...And he hasn't. This Saturday he's going to be locking her down for good. I am honored to be a part of the wedding in any capacity, let alone getting to stand up in the front. 

We may not look alike, but inside we're very much the same. We may not have the same blood running through our veins, but I gladly call him brother and friend. Plus its awesome to introduce him as my brother and see people's confused faces trying to figure out which one of us is adopted.

Congrats, Chris & Jessica!

*Sentence courtesy of Paul Rudd in Knocked Up.
*Except for the example in the first paragraph about the Brady Bunch.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Moon Screening (updated twice)

**updated again: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/41396
Confirmation of the film's greatness by Massawyrm. I find that his reviews of movies on their site usually echoes my thoughts the closest.

*Updated: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/41380
I lost. Is it because of the blog? No one reads this blog! Its just for me and friends.

(original article)
This will go fast, but it is my duty to tell people of the screening that Capone from Aint It Cool News is doing for the Sam Rockwell movie MOON.


Good Luck!