Monday, February 28, 2011


(picture by Arthur Nugget)

Well, it looks like Nic Cage is 0/2 so far this year. I have heard rumors that he is trying to earn money to pay his taxes. I'm sure there is a reason he makes the movies he does, but he is also quickly becoming what Norm MacDonald calls "Box Office Poison".

In Drive Angry, he has fast cars and is chasing devil worshipers who stole his grand daughter. Oh did I mention he was escaping from Hell? And from hell comes the grim reaper (aka the Accountant) to bring him home. It's in 3D so it can throw things at your face. Tom Adkins shows up for some reason.

I guess I should have known what I was in for when I couldn't get anyone to be my plus 1 to the screening. But Roger Ebert was there (as was Michael Phillips). I look forward to their thoughts on the movie. And now, here's mine...

Did you enjoy it?
Even with 3D naked bodies, I'm gonna say NO

Would you see it in theaters again?
No No No

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Perfect Episodes

I have had this column in draft status for quite some time. It's been sitting on the shelf because I kept debating on whether to flush it out to a Top Ten Best Episodes Ever or just go with the original ones that came to mind. This post started when Parks & Rec aired "Ron and Tammy" last year. That was the episode where I knew I was in love with the show.

A perfect episode (to me) is one that fires on all cylinders. The B-plot is just as important or funny as the main plot, and every character / actor gets a chance to shine. I have decided that I am not going get into a detailed recap of each episode. I have linked to wikipedia where others in the world have done that for me. Instead, here's why I think they are winners (*update* which I guess means I recap them).

30 Rock "Secrets and Lies"
The perfect example of everyone getting something to do. Jenna wins an award but is jealous of Tracy. Liz and Pete have to jump through hoops to baby them. Jack and CC talk about going public. The Twofer and Frank rivalry starts. Josh gets a new haircut. James Carville has a walk on to help out everyone. I downloaded this episode to my iPhone so I can watch it when I'm in need of some comedy.

Seinfeld "The Burning"
In the last season of Seinfeld, this was the pinnacle. I taped (on VHS) all episodes of the last season of Seinfeld and this one got the most play (besides Puerto Rican Day, which they stopped airing for a while because of the flag burning). Elaine finds out Puddy is religious. George tries to go out on a "high note" at meetings. Kramer acts out gonorrhea and Jerry's girlfriend got gonorrhea from a tractor. Many complain that Seinfeld got too absurdest toward the end of their run. I don't disagree, but it was still plenty funny.

Simpsons "Homer Goes to College"
All of the 5th season is the best. There is no arguing that. It's like picking your favorite child. But sometimes you have to make Sophie's choice. Mine is HGtC. I am so smart. I am so smart. S-m-r-t. I mean s-m-a-r-t. All while lighting his high school diploma on fire. Comic gold.

Angel "Not Fade Away"
Now we're getting into the drama. This one is tough. It's definitely not an entry episode. But if you watch the 100+ episodes that come before it (and all of Buffy, for good measure) then this is the single best payoff for TV of all time. Hands down. I know a lot of you out there don't like fantasy shows, and you're missing out. This is what television should be. This is how Lost should have ended (not plot wise, but thematically). Everything leads to this. Heart wrenching. Emotionally engaging. Perfect ending.

Buffy "Graduation Day"
BtVS hit its stride in the 3rd season. The end of high school. Literally and figuratively. The thing about this episode is that it didn't air right away. Columbine happened. The WB feared high school violence on TV would hit too close to home. I'm not sure when it ended up airing originally. Some time in the summer, I believe. I thought about putting the 5th season finale on here, but decided that this one beat it out. Yes, there are some cheesy special effects, but it also has toe to toe slayer fights, the end of Principal Schneider, and everyone (and I mean everyone) pitching in to do battle. "We're taking a moment." -Oz

Parks and Recreation "Ron and Tammy"
Finally, the reason for the article. Ron Swanson is currently my favorite TV character. And this episode is a showcase for him. Working with his real life wife Megan Mullally he gets to play crazy. Just a tour de force episode (did I use that right?). I think it is on Netflix Instant right now. So, what are you waiting for?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Program your own Film Festival

The Music Box Theater recently announced this year's Sci-Fi Spectacular. The movie Krull made the list. What I love about the MBT is that they always try to do fun and interesting things. They sold out three showings of The Room last weekend. Tommy Wiseau and Sestero were in attendance. The AMC Theater chain is running an Oscar Nominee Movie Marathon. I love it. Some day, I'm going to try and avoid what I think will be the ten nominees so I can attend. As it stands now, I don't think I could handle all 10 in a single sitting since they'd mostly be repeats for me. But according to Justin Bieber I should "Never Say Never" so maybe I will go.

When I was a Freshman in college, a couple of sophomores in my fraternity had a movie marathon in their dorm after semester finals. I always thought that was a great tradition.

Edgar Wright, the film director (Scott Pilgrim, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), recently programmed the "Wright Stuff" film festival at the New Beverly in Los Angeles. Basically, he's using his celebrity to show movies he wants people to see.

Which inspired me to come up with my own selection for a fictional film festival. Now since I don't have any clout with anyone anywhere, this list is mostly for you to program at your house (or you're welcome to come over to K.Nug Headquarters).


Kuffs is Christian Slater's vanity movie. A weird mix of action, supposed comedy and a lot of breaking the fourth wall (talking to the audience). His uncle, or someone, runs a private neighborhood security company. When Kuffs takes over, he runs into a lot of obstacles. And the bad guys wear tee shirts with their own picture on it.

(the jerk who posted the trailer on YouTube doesn't allow embeds. So you can click the title to go there.)

Anthony Edwards gets seduced by Linda Fiorentino (who hasn't). It has a lot of East / West Germany spy mystery. Its totally 80's and I remember watching it a million times on HBO. International Intrigue and Paintball, isn't that what all pre-pubescent kids dream about?

Hudson Hawk

Bruce Willis' vanity film. Anyone who claims this movie isn't entertaining (Dirk) isn't paying attention. Every character decision is questionable at best. Every plot point is ridiculous at best. It's amazing that something like this exists. I would rather see Bruce Willis make a sequel to this than to further sully the Die Hard series with another entry. This movie also contains some breaking of the fourth wall. Gotta love it.


Andrew McCarthey, 80's favorite, makes a mannequin during one of his many job montage. Later he finds works at Prince and Company by saving Estelle Getty. James Spader plays a weasel executive. Kim Catrall plays the time traveling mannequin. I guess it should be classified as a Science Fiction movie since it envolves time travel, right? Let's not dwell on that point.

Hot Rod

Did not get the attention it deserved in theaters. I would bring it back for another shot to enjoy it on the big screen. Bill Hader, Danny McBride, and Will Arnett are great in their supporting roles. Written by Pam Brady, who used to write for South Park. The Lonely Island boys gave the script their own personal touch. First time I saw this movie was at a special screening where I got pretty hammered. I rediscovered it later when it started getting tons of replay on cable.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


View Larger Map

The Nugget is shutting down for a week. There is one more article scheduled to post on Friday, but other than that it is going to be quiet around here. But when we come back, we might have a new guest contributor and a new movie to talk about. Until then, stay warm people.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Defector (possibly)

If the Minnesota Vikings move to Los Angeles, I will become a Bears fan. It is as simple as that.

There have been threats of the team moving for years. None of which have been explicitly made by the owner Ziggy Wilf (can we just take a second to acknowledge the best NFL Owner name in the history of the NFL...). But with the Metrodome lease up, plus you know, the roof collapsed, if the Vikings don't get a new stadium, it might be goodbye Midwest, hello Hollywood.

Here are a couple of good articles related to the situation.
They're moving!
Let's keep them here with scratch off tickets!

I just can't see following a team that will no longer be part of my childhood. In elementary school during recess my friends and I would always play touch football. It would always be Vikings fans vs Bears fans. Are kids going to play LA Vikings vs Chicago Bears? No. (It pains me to think that the alternative would be a child Packers team. THE HORROR!)

Plus I would not want to raise a (fictional) son to follow a team he has no connection to.

"Dad, why do you like the Vikings?
   Well son, they used to play about 2 hours from my hometown. 
No, son, I have never lived in California. Let me explain..."

Walter Payton sweatshirt offered as proof
As only a few people know, I was a Bears fan for a while in elementary. Iowa has no team, so you usually chose one of the neighboring states. Some kid picked the Cowboys. No one liked that guy. But the aforementioned recess game had uneven teams when one kid moved away. So, being the care free kid that I was, I moved to the Vikings team. That eventually led to me cheering for the Vikings for their actual games. And thus a convert was born. I figure I'm just as easy and carefree now as I was when I was 11, so why not.

But let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Things I Love

On this holiest of holidays (according to Kirsten Coen) I have compiled a list of things I love. Not comprehensive, its mostly a list of things I thought about when I asked myself what do I love. Results below.

SoupBox's 1/2 Beef Stew 1/2 Chicken and Wild Rice mix
I had this for the hundredth time the other day. Whenever I go to the SoupBox I hope they have both these soups on the menu that day. They encourage and suggest mixing soups. I never feel like a weirdo requesting two soups in one bowl. And let me tell you, even though all their soups are good, these two in tandem are supremely excellent.

macaroni and cheese
No location to find a specific version (although there is a food truck around the city now, can't wait to get some from there), but gun to my head, I would say my grandmother's version. It is made from scratch. That'd be the version of which I am most found. But I do remember having this as a small child. I always hated it when dad made it, because the noodles would stick together (never asked him why he couldn't be bothered to stir the noodles in the water). But seriously, is there anything better than macaroni and cheese? The answer is no.

Taco Time
Another one from my childhood that has grown into an obsession. On our shopping trips to Ames, IA we'd sometimes get to stop at Taco Time for lunch. It's fast food, but there aren't millions of locations. Tables have delicious salsa in a squeeze bottle. They also have a salsa bar containing Sour Cream dressing (i think it is just a creamer ranch, yum). This chain is plentiful on the northwestern states (curse you Oregon and Washington) but there is only one location in the Midwest. And that location is in Ames, IA. When I moved to Chicago there was a "Coming Soon" location in a Dundee Mall, but it never opened. If I were to win the lottery, I would bring a location to Chicago, for sure.

Cherry Coke
Another addiction that started as a child. I loved going to Redder Pharmacy in my hometown. A throwback to olden days, the two pharmacies in my hometown had soda bars. While mom was filling prescriptions, I would get to sit at the counter and have a cherry Coke. Made with Grenadine. So fantastic. From a can or fountain isn't bad, and makes it more widely available, I still prefer ordering one at a bar, because you know they've got Grenadine back there behind the bar. It's the simple things, people.

Pot Roast Sandwich from Yolk
I know, weird, right? From a breakfast place comes a delicious lunch option. Basically, take a slow cooked generous portion of pot roast, put some cheese on it, and then make it a melt (grilled bread like a patty melt). The juice from the pot roast soaks into the bread. Oh man. I'm getting hungry. Excuse me, I have to go over there right now.

Apple iPhone
It may be a little uncool to praise Apple with all those Android phones taking market share, but you know what, who cares. I didn't get a cell phone until 2005, long after everyone else I knew had one. But you know what I had before that? An iPod. And I took it everywhere. You mean I can have hundreds of songs on one device and not have to carry around my discman and a bunch of CDs anymore? Sign me up. Now the first mix of music and cell phones (at least for AT&T / Cingular / Motorola / Apple) was the Motorola ROKR. It did not set the world on fire. But from these lessons we get great strides forward. Instead of a phone that could sync your iTunes, Apple said, let's just make phones instead. No longer do I carry two gadgets in two pockets when I leave the house. They're all combined into one. The key piece is that the phone is the afterthought. Great I can make crummy phone calls. Who calls anyone anymore anyways?

Netflix Instant On-Demand
What started as a small tab buried on the Netflix site has become the prominent way to watch movies from the company. When I was shopping for an HDTV I made sure it could run apps (and the one I bought promised Netflix Instant coming soon. SOLD!) And it is great. Like On-Demand content from a cable box, without the cable box. Any time I am ready to dump cable (get it free from my bldg currently) I will still have access to tons of movies.

The Soon-To-Be Mrs. Nugget
I love many things in this world. But I would not hesitate to give up any of them for the love of my life. She comes first and foremost.

Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cedar Rapids [w/ Ed Helms Q&A]

Cedar Rapids is funny. That's the top priority. You have to laugh. Ed Helms and John C. Reilly are great. But as I watched this film, I was more impressed by the supporting cast. Everyone here is top notch. Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet), Anne Heche, Stephen Root, Kurtwood Smith, Alia Shawkat (Maeby Funke), Rob Corddry (in a very subtle performance), Sigourney Weaver...all great. The director Miguel Arteta is responsible for the equally funny Youth In Revolt last year.

The story follows a sheltered small town Wisconsinite who is called up to the big "City of Five Seasons" for the AMSI Insurance Convention. Yes, Cedar Rapids, IA. The Big City. You are not misreading that. You might think that since I'm a native Iowan I might be predisposed to like a movie about Iowa.

But trivia fact number one, the movie did not shoot in Iowa. I asked the question at the Q&A and was told by Miguel that they were planning to shoot there, but as they got deeper into pre-production, another film started renting most of the trailers and equipment in the state. So they had to take their road show to Ann Arbor, MI.

Trivia fact numero dos, those jokes from the trailer where Isiah Whitlock Jr talks about The Wire (of which he was a recurring cast member), those jokes were in the script prior to Isiah getting the role. Also of note, when Isiah was hired Ed Helms fought hard to get those jokes removed. He felt it was too on the nose and would take people out of the movie.

Fun fact number three: you know Ed Helms. He plays button down, preppy, somewhat timid characters (i.e. The Office, The Hangover, etc) well he's not like that at all. He himself proclaimed himself to be a jaded, cynical bastard (paraphrasing). Which makes his acting work all that more impressive. He's also quite a bit more handsome than I noticed before.

For the movie itself, I hope it finds an audience. It feels very honest and not too broad, but still has a generous amount of belly laughs. If you're not seeing Oscar nominated films this weekend, then you should definitely see Cedar Rapids.

Did you enjoy it?
Very Much

Would you see it in theaters again?
I Would

Would you buy it?
Probably Not

Would you rent it?

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Roommate

Single White Female "in college". That is how this movie was pitched in Hollywood for sure. Watch Single White Female instead. It's on Netflix-on-demand. This one is laughably bad. Each moment telegraphed from miles ahead.

Did you enjoy it?
In only laughably bad ways. And only because it was free.

Would you see it in theaters again?
I would sooner go stand outside right now naked for 30 minutes.

Would you buy it?
Not even to give to my arch nemesis.

Would you rent it?
Ahhhhh no.

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

The Fighter

Based on the true story of Micky Ward, that's not the reason to go see the movie. The real reason, starting with the first frame of the film Christian Bale memorizes us as Micky's older brother "Dicky". He's astonishing. And we shouldn't be surprised. He's done it in movie roles before. Unlike his counter point (cough cough Wahlberg) you never once think he's acting. You think he is Dicky.

Since it's based on a true story, either you know what happened (not that long ago) or you don't. Either way I don't think it would effect your enjoyment of the movie. But you should see it before Oscar night, and you should not be surprised when Christian Bale wins.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Music Box Sci-Fi Spectacular

This March you get your chance to see KRULL on the big screen.

This is what it has all been about, people. After March 19th, I am shutting down the website.