Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's Go to the Movies

This makes me really want to hang out at the White House.

Also, is it weird that I noticed Michelle before Barack?

I've Gotta Get Back in Time

Remember those people who kinda-sorta-maybe lived without some technology? If they want to go a little more hardcore, they could take a tip from these ladies.

Except these ladies scare me, too.

I love stuff from the 20s--50s. Movies, clothes, music, whatever. I wish fedoras would come back in style. I wish people dressed up to get on a plane. I wish I could do my hair like those chic ladies did. I wish I could see Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant or Bing Crosby in a movie. Lots of fun cultural touchstones there.

But I also like having a college degree, being able to pursue the career of my choice, and having a partner who considers me an equal.

Women like Joanne Massey, Debbie Cleulow, Diane Rowlands might be taking things a bit too far. From their dress to their homes to their cars to their relationships with their husbands, everything is either 30s/40s/50s. It's like they're at a Renn Faire, except they forgot that when you hit the parking lot, you can drop the whole Rennaissance thing.

But it might be a defense mechanism, too. Massey says:

"I admit I am in retreat from the 21st century. When I look at the reality of the world today, with all the violence, greed and materialism, I shudder. I don't want to live in that world...I only recently realised that Tony Blair is no longer Prime Minister as I don't read newspapers - they are just too distressing."

I know life is tough today, but it was also tough in the 50s for a lot of people. (Hello, segregation.) Even though these women think that the 30s/40s/50s were a more pleasant time--and maybe they were--it's also a fantasy version of what these eras were actually like. Especially the 30s and 40s in England. Did they miss the whole Depression/WWII thing?

I think it's fun to take bits and pieces from these eras and apply them to contemporary living. For example, ettiquette really is lost today. So is appropriate dress. But that doesn't mean you have to retreat into an old-timey fantasy world to get at a sense of gentility. An iPod isn't going to mess with your view of the world.

Of course, that doesn't mean I would mind seeing what kind of cool home accessories and outfits these women have collected.

New Battleplans

It's no secret that the GOP needs to revamp their image and find a new way to energize their voters. That energizing force used to be against gay marriage. But is that an issue that's starting to do them more harm than good? Recently, several states have legalized gay marriage, including Iowa. (Who saw that one coming?) This suggests that more people are open to the idea of marriage not just being a man/woman institution.

(And if we're going to go Biblical on this idea, how sacred is divorce? Shouldn't all heterosexual couples have to adhere to strict definitions of marriage if we're going to exclude homosexual couples? Shouldn't everyone have to get married in a church? But that's beside the point.)

The real issue for the Republican is the youth vote. Younger Republicans don't have the same problem with gay marriage that older Republicans do.

"In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, released on Monday, 31 percent of respondents over the age of 40 said they supported gay marriage. By contrast, 57 percent under age 40 said they supported it, a 26-point difference. Among the older respondents, 35 percent said they opposed any legal recognition of same-sex couples, be it marriage or civil unions. Among the younger crowd, just 19 percent held that view."

It's a numbers game. It used to be that Republicans had to bring up gay marriage and abortion and voters would show up in droves. Now, it's not a hardcore issue, especially since there are bigger issues at stake, like the economy.

Former Republican New York mayor Giuliani, who doesn't support gay marriage, thinks the party needs to stop 'harping' on the issue if they want to get ahead for the next set of elections.

"The Republican party does best organizing itself around economic issues and issues of national security."

Obviously I'm pro-gay marriage, but I think it's also just a smart move for the GOP to distance itself from intense, anti-gay marriage sentiments. People are becoming more and more accepting, and if the GOP takes too strong a stance, they'll lose voters. Especially when we have issues to worry about, like the economy.

So is this a sign that in fifty years, people won't like anything of gay marriage? Is it going to be like interracial marriage forty years ago? Who'd have thought?

You're Not Fern, Child

Bad parenting--the cause of the swine flu.

I Can't Lose Control

In a way, this kind of explains how Edward feels about Bella.

"You brought a snack!"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In Da Club

Clubbin' baby seals


He's Some Terrific, Radiant, Humble, Thingamajig of a Pig

With all this coverage about the swine flu, I think someone's out to destroy the meat industry. Good thing we have Chomposaurus to set things straight:

"What I’m trying to say is: Bacon is still ok! Eat all the pork sausage you want...In the rare case of swine->man transmission, the swine would need to be alive, and you’d probably need to be bathing in its blood, Carrie-style. But even then, the chances of Carrie getting the flu are very low; she’d have to be bathing in the blood every day, or be a child with bad immune defenses who spent a creepy amount of time in the pig booth at the county fair. Don’t listen to me, listen to the CDC!"

Phew! So put that bacon log back in the oven, kids, and enjoy your meat as you watch more media coverage of the medical emergency.

Jump For My Love

Remember the cat who couldn't get enough of the paper bag? He's back. And now he has a much bigger plaything.

Enter the box.

Honestly, I laughed so hard at this one I could barely breathe, so be careful who's around you at work.


Why hunt when you can hunt with style?

I love how intense the music is, when I really hope the fox is thinking, "Zoom!"

Street Musicians Unite

Sadly, I can't embed this one for your viewing convenience, but check out the loveliest video I've seen in a while. And I didn't even love "Stand By Me" as a song--these guys have changed my mind.

About the project:

"This cover of Stand By Me was recorded by completely unknown artists in a street virtual studio all around the world. It all started with a base track—vocals and guitar—recorded on the streets of Santa Monica, California, by a street musician called Roger Ridley. The base track was then taken to New Orleans, Louisiana, where Grandpa Elliott—a blind singer from the French Quarter—added vocals and harmonica while listening to Ridley's base track on headphones. In the same city, Washboard Chaz's added some metal percussion to it.

And from there, it just gets rock 'n' rolling bananas: The producers took the resulting mix all through Europe, Africa, and South America, adding new tracks with multiple instruments and vocals that were assembled in the final version you are seeing in this video. All done with a simple laptop and some microphones."

This is what the internet is for--connecting people in the best way possible. (I mean, that and porn, right?)

Also check out Playing For Change, the group that put all this together. Their goal: "to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music...No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world." They also have other videos bringing musicians together, so be sure to check them out.

Buskers rock. (But then, we already knew that.)

I'm Nuts About These Two

Disney should option the film rights--a tale of two squirrels, journeying to the best tree on campus.

Jump, squirrel, jump!

This actually makes me feel a lot more kindly towards the squirrels in the Public Garden, who think pedestrians are trash and will steal all your food.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Alien (lo)v(e)s Predator

Another delightfully random webcomic: Alien Loves Predator. No monster fighting, just everyday issues in the city. Except it's Alien and Predator.

I wish I saw that on the T.

I Want to Punch Their Lights Out

Recently, the Boston Globe ran an article about young people who are eschewing modern technology in favor of a simpler life. No, it's not steampunk. It's just people who don't really use their cell phones.

I feel like this article was so half-assed. I would be more interested to read about people who actually eschew modern technology--ie, they read by candlelight, they grow their own vegetables, they dream about being Amish. The people in this article were so self-righteous about not using technology, but they ended up admitting that they used it sometimes. For example, the Kalfs have a TV but keep it turned to the wall. Like they have to hide it. Just have a TV or don't have it. You don't need to brag about how much you watch it or don't watch it. Also, they go to their parents' to use the computer. That must be really fun for their parents.

Mostly I hate this quote:

"Worshiping at the church of the pixel comes at the expense of real-life experience," says Alan, who teaches biology at Lexington Christian Academy.

Can you be any more pretentious about the fact that you have hobbies?

How is that a fucking article? Seriously? I want to read about people who are hardcore, passionate, whatever. I want an article about the Amish. Not baout people who just don't answer their cell phones very often. Those people aren't interesting; they're just hard to contact.

No wonder the Boston Globe is going under.


I don't tend to write about my own experiences, but I thought this deserved a nod.

Sunday was kind of sucktastic for me. When I went to Starbucks for an iced tea, the girl at the register took down my name. I usually say "Anne" and then wait to see if they spell it correctly. (Sorry, Anns.) Most of the time they just write "Ann" but when they get it right, it's a total win. But this Starbucks Barista went above and beyond--she spelled my name right and drew a little flower next to it! When I got my drink, it made me so happy!

So thank you, Starbucks girl, for brigthening my spirits on a stressy day.

Chicks Dig the Car

I'm not a huge car person, but I am impressed with the Batmobile replication. (Okay, it's the Batmobile from Batman Forever, but at least it wasn't from the one with poor Alicia Silverstone and Chris O'Donnell.) It was designed by Bob Causey and is actually driveable.

More pictures through the link!

Causey also helped build a replica Batmobile from The Dark Knight. Sweet!

In a World Filled With Lies...

It's so secret I love trailers. If I had any technical skill at all, I would so hop on that job. You get to use the "In a world..." cliche and it still sounds awesome. Sometimes trailers are even better than the actual movie. And sometimes they represent what the movie should have been.

You could say the fault lies with the marketing department, but in some cases the marketing department has more creativity than the people who actually put the movie together.

Missing from this list:

  • The Family Stone was supposed to be a romantic comedy about a quirky family. Enter cancer and lots of horrifyingly awkward scenes. (Oh, dear lord, Sarah Jessica Parker, please shut your mouth!)
  • They thought Pearl Harbor would be the next Titanic. Except Titanic had half a movie of action, instead of fifteen minutes of action and two hours of mind-numbingly absurd love triangles. I just wanted historical action. How hard is that to deliver?
  • I haven't seen it yet, but wasn't Man of the Year a total trailer lie? And it sounded like such a good idea for a movie.

Yet another example of how great movies are made in the editing process.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This Would Have Been a Better Sequel Than Oceans 12

Muppets can do anything.

Monday Morning Cute

It's so nice out today. I just want to nap in the sunshine with puppies.

This is the closest I'll get. Oh well.

Available For Preorder

Leila, aka the bookshelves of doom maven, is putting together a literary journal for YA lit, and I'm going to be in the first issue! Bookshelves of doom is one of my very favorite YA blogs, so I'm really excited about this project. Plus, YA short stories generally don't get a lot of attention--there aren't tons of journals the way there is for adult literature, and even Cicada stopped accepting submissions--so I think this is a fantastic move.

A description of the first issue:

"In Volume 1, Number 1, you'll revisit one of Shakespeare's plays; experience time travel; spend time at a racetrack, in high school and the world of cubicles; break down on your way to Vegas; and escape from summer camp."

You can order the first issue of TBR Tallboy here, and I sincerely hope you do!

Does It Open on a Hinge?

Check out this life-sized dollhouse by Canadian artist Heather Benning. She found an abandoned farmhouse and decided to transform it into a giant version of the toy beloved by many young children.

While most exterior walls were left alone, one side was removed and replaced with Plexiglass to provide the dollhouse-y, voyeuristic look. Inside, the rooms were painted bright colors and filled with 1960s furniture. (The farmhouse was abandoned in the 60s.)

As a kid who was wild about dollhouses, I think this is pretty neat. And again, I love wild public art, so this was right up my alley.

Road trip to Canada, anyone?

I'll Grope You, Brotha

This is actually kind of upsetting for me. I love Desmond's storyline with Penny on Lost, and I don't want to think of actor Henry Ian Cusick as a molester. Apparently he's been charged with sexually harassing a woman who worked on the set of Lost.

"The lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles alleges that Cusick, who plays Desmond Hume on the show, fondled the woman's buttocks and breasts and kissed her on the lips in October 2007. The lawsuit claims she reported the incident to her supervisor, but was simply told to avoid the actor. She states she was fired 12 days later in retaliation for reporting the alleged abuse."

Not so classy, Des.

Again, I hope it's not true because I love his character and if he were that skeezy, it would ruin that little part of Desmond in my brain. Not to say that you can't like someone's work beyond who they are as a person, but it does leave a bad taste in your mouth regardless.

That Big Florida Condo in the Sky

Bea Arthur, star of hit TV shows such as Maude and The Golden Girls, passed away this weekend. She was 86 years-old and suffering from cancer, and died peacefully in her Los Angeles home with family around her.

Dorothy was the Golden Girl I most related to (as a five year-old, when I watched it with my aunt), so when I saw this, I actually gasped. I also just found out that one of her last roles was on an episode of the awesomely funny Futurama, as the Femputer. Even in her 70s, Bea knew how to choose the good shows.

We'll miss you, Bea.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Watch Out, Lance Armstrong

Don't get held back by people who want to crush your dreams.

Even if you're a bike.

Ghost Riding - video powered by Metacafe

Cheetos are Styrofoam

What a terrible lesson to learn. But Adam Frucci ate the giant disgusting Cheeto.

World's Largest Cheeto and the Optimus Maximus from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

It really makes me want to live on a macrobiotic diet.

Except if I did that, my insides would cry for sugar. What a world!

You Forgot One Thing

Part of the fun of big summer blockbusters is you know what you're going to get--a lot of action, not a lot of time spent poring over the script. So the good people at Overthinking It have put together a list of blockbuster cliches.

Even better--it's interactive! They present a mad-libs style list. You can fill in your favorite/most hysterical replies, and post them in the comments. And then on Friday, May 1, they'll post their favorite fill-ins.

Take the challenge!

The list, for your convenience:

  1. “You forgot one thing.” “What’s that, hotshot?” “________.”
  2. “Leave the ______ out of it. This is between ___ and ___.”
  3. “In case ________, there’s something I want you to know. I’ve always ______.”
  4. “You’ve never given up on anything in your life! Now stand up and ______!”
  5. “We have to go back for him!” “Forget him! He’s ______!”
  6. “If I ______, they ______. And I won’t let that happen.”
  7. “Only ______ can save us now.”
  8. “So it’s true what they say. You are ______.”
  9. “In every man’s life, there’s a time to ______ and a time to ______. I feel like ______. Who’s with me?”
  10. “What do we do now?” [dramatic zoom] “We ______.”

Go fill in with hilarity!

Are We in Mordor?

The forest is watching you.

Most menacing tree house ever.

Beach Day

Tasmanian artist Stuart Gibson takes amazing photographs of the ocean. Doesn't this wave look sculptural?

(via Hello Bauldoff)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Unicorns Are Still Out There

Narwhals are pretty darn cool. But we don't know a whole lot about them. They're the mysterious unicorn-whales of the sea. Scientist Kristin Laidre is trying to find out more. Not exactly an easy task:

"Narwhals live in the cracks of dense pack ice for much of the year. They flee from motorboats and helicopters. They can't be herded toward shore like belugas, and because they're small (for whales) and maddeningly fast, it's little use trying to tag them with transmitters shot from air rifles. They must be netted and manhandled, although Laidre is trying a variation on an aboriginal method, attaching transmitters to modified harpoons that hunters toss from stealthy Greenlandic kayaks."

Her drive? Finding out basic facts, like 'how many narwhals are there?' and 'where do they travel?' and 'what are their eating patterns?' No one even really knows what the deal is with their 'horn' (actually a tooth)--why do they have it? What do they use it for? Is it to move ice? Attack things? Studying narwhals requires a lot of effort to discover really basic information. Narwhals can't even be captured and studied, because they tend to die quickly in captivity.

The article itself is really interesting, discussing narwhals and the locations in which they live. It's a travel/science/adventure essay.

Of course, the essay leaves out the Avenging Narwhal, which might hold the key to all the narwhal questions. ("How many narwhals are there? Enough to kill a koala!") But you can't expect National Geographic to be doing that kind of research, can you?

I Want to Get in Your Pants...And Eat Them

This reminds me of the grocery store challenge from Project Runway. Artist Ami Goodheart designed a collection of outfits based on what a particular person was craving. My favorite? The waffle pants.

Very hipster.

The Weight of Knowledge

In a few hours, I'll be in the last phase of evolution.

Except, you know, I didn't work in a lab. I've got to say, PhD (yet another awesome webcomic) makes me so happy I am not a scientist. At least with the arts, I expect people to think I've made bad life decisions.

What Movie Should We See Tonight?

If Daniel Plainview had suffered from a powerful indecision.

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Oh Failblog.

Get Out the Scary Lighting

Michael Emerson, you may just be the creepiest man alive. Not just on television. The creepiest man alive. Thank goodness you use your powers for good.

Like reading nursery rhymes aloud!

This also just made me like Jimmy Fallon a little more.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rock Your Brains Out

One more, and mostly because I'm embarrassed to have half-naked teenage werewolves at the top of the blog.

From Penny Arcade, another awesome webcomic:

Oh yeah, they went there.

Howl Your Shirt Off

It's an awesome day for the internet!

The werewolves
are challenging Edward Cullen to a shirt-off. So far, the wolves are winning.

But seriously? Are they just going to have every production photo be of guys without shirts on? Of course, that does sound like a good marketing scheme. And I'm glad that it's not another half-naked chick. (Seriously, Vanity Fair?)

Also, I guess this actually figures into the novel--the werewolf part, not the Edward part. They get overheated and can't really transform with their clothes, so the idea is that they end up shirtless a lot. But add Edward to that, and it's just marketing.

One thing I do like: the actors--Chaske Spencer, Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon and Bronson Pelletier--all have Native American heritage. That's not to say you can't have an actor play across cultures, but I'm pretty sure Native American actors aren't offered a lot of roles.

Darn These Snakes!

Sometimes, you need to censor a movie's stronger language so it can be shown on cable. And when that happens, movies like the classic Snakes on a Plane take a hit.

So...did I miss the great snake/monkey fight?

Space is Delicious!

Wow, it's a music/dinosaur/space themed day here at Lady Faces!

Possibly one of the best scientific headlines ever:

Astronomers find Milky Way 'could taste of raspberries'

The most adorable news to hit astrophysicists since they discovered the kitten galaxy!

Okay, there's some actual science to back this up, too. Scientists were actually looking for amino acids--basic, life-building chemicals--when they stumbled across ethyl formate, the chemical that makes raspberries taste like raspberries. (Also present--the "deadly chemical propyl cyanide." But that's not tasty!) So that must mean space tastes like a field of fresh, dangerous raspberries, right?


Astronomer Arnaud Belloche had to come along and kill the fun:

"It [ethyl formate] does happen to give raspberries their flavour, but there are many other molecules that are needed to make space raspberries."

Well, Belloche, I guess you know what your latest project will be. Making space raspberries!

A Dream Realized

They said a dinosaur would never fly.

They were wrong.

From Jeph, who writes Questionable Content, one of my favorite webcomics.

And the Cat Is Still Better at the Piano Than I Am

Meet Nora, the musical feline!

She's basically a virtuoso:

"She began sitting at the piano at about one-year-old. She's four now. She plays only when the mood strikes her, which is usually several time a times a day for short periods."

Nora takes her practice seriously.

I love when she lays her head on the keys!

Who Needs Real Bands When You Have Fake Bands?

Everyone wants to be in a band. As someone who has zero musical talent, this is a special dream for me--the cheering crowds, the hit songs, the adoring fans! But as film and television tell us, being in a band is harder than it looks. There are always power struggles between bandmates; struggles with fame; love triangles; wacky hijinks; long stretches on the road; trouble with the law. It's not a life for the faint of heart.

So maybe for now, it's better for me to just admire these fictional bands instead of starting my own. Here is my Top 12 Favorite Fake Bands:

#12 The Archies:
Don't tell me you've never sung along to the classic hit, "Sugar, Sugar." It's adorably infectious--just the kind of song a '60's cartoon band would sing. (For that reason, the Archies beat Josie and the Pussycats. Plus they made the Josie movie with Tara Reid. Ugh.) They're a group of cartoon friends who made it big in a band, even though I don't think any of the other comics are about their musical talent. It's like that episode of Saved by the Bell in which they all end up in a famous band--except it was Zack's dream. And not only are the Archies a cartoon band (ie--not even fictional real people), their "vocals" are mostly done by Ron Dante. So it's a fictional sound you hear. The Archies have this unreal this all wrapped up.

#11 Mystik Spiral
Another cartoon band and this one, from the classic Daria, was insanely hip to the middle school viewer I was. Led by Trent, secret love of Daria and brother of her best friend, Lane, it was the epitomy of angtsy 90s teen grunge garage band. And the writers knew it. Mystik Spiral was never meant for musical glory. It's all you think is cool when you're 14.

#10 Dingoes Ate My Baby
This one is a little selfish on my part, because it's the band that spawned Oz, beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer character. When they first appeared in the Inca Mummy Girl episode, Oz fell for Willow, and one of television's most adorable relationships was born. Most of the music was composed/performed by real-life band Four Star Mary. And their name, Dingoes at My Baby, was inspired by the Azaria Chamberlain disappearance, when a dingo (you guessed it) ran off with a woman's baby.

#9 The Monkees
They ride that line between real and fake. They're real people (unlike #12 and #11), but they had a TV show about their fake wacky hijinks. They started off just providing the faces and vocals, but eventually got to play their own music, too. They toured and released records. They made movies. Who cares if they're real or fake? Because I love them. By five, I knew all the words to "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer." With their catchy lyrics and bouncy tunes, the Monkees made me believe in them. (Also, Davey Jones is like an elf.)

#8 Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators
You're in trouble with the mob and need to get out of town, fast. Better yet, you need to get undercover. What do you do? Dress in drag and join an all-girl band, of course. That's what Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon do in the classic Some Like it Hot. But this isn't some prissy all-girl band. These girls dance, smoke, and drink on the sly. Who wouldn't want to be in a band with Marilyn Monroe and a bunch of other fun chicks in Florida? Plus, it's just a hysterical movie in general. I might just run away to join an all-girl band, mafia or no.

#7 The Beets
If the Beatles were cartoon characters in the early-mid 90s, this is what they'd look like. And fortunately, the Beets have just the catchy sound that you'd expect from that combination. From the classic Nicktoon Doug, the Beets were Doug Funnie's favorite band. With songs like "Killer Tofu" and "You Gotta Shout Your Lungs Out," it was easy to see why all the multicolored kids in Bluffington went nuts over them.

#6 Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
Few things are cooler than the Muppets. Everyone loves them. And as such, no band is cooler than Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Muppet band extraordinaire. Although Muppets like Kermit and Miss Piggy have some great songs, the Electric Mayhem add a nice, rock edge to the usually folksy Muppet movies. (Okay, rock for a bunch of foam puppets, but still, it introduces kids to the craziness of fake bands.) Plus, it has Animal, one of the most memorable/wildest Muppets ever. Usually drummers fade into the background of the band, but Animal makes his presence known.

#5 The Wonders
Maybe the best combination of honesty and adorableness when it comes to stardom. The Wonders (or rather, the Oneders at first) are just a group of guys with a nice ballad, until drummer Guy Patterson comes along and spices up the beat. The band is then launched into fictional 60's stardom--except they only have one great song and there are issues between bandmates. Add some romantic tension between Guy and the adorable Liv Tyler, and you have one of the most charming band movies ever. Fun footnote: the song "That Thing You Do," which is totally catchy, was actually written by Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger.

#4 Stillwater
From Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous, this is the band that makes me want to leave home and follow around a 70's rock group for a while. Sure, there's some bandmate drama--Jason Lee is fantastic as self-centered lead singer Jeff--and girl drama--Band Aids are people, too!--but at the end of the day, the music is what brings everybody back together. One of my favorite scenes is when they're all on the bus, all mad at each other, and "Tiny Dancer" starts playing. They may not love each other, but they can still sing along. Plus, Patrick Fugit is one of the most adorable, coolest guys on screen.

#3 Spinal Tap
From one of the first mockumentaries, This Is Spinal Tap, this fictional hair-metal band takes the comedy all the way to 11. With jokes about midgets and dead drummers, and songs like "Sex Farm," it's impossible not to laugh at some point during This Is Spinal Tap. Plus, Christopher Guest and his group (see Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind) do the mockumentary better than anyone else. They get whatever genre they're working with and then go crazy. And with Spinal Tap, the actors are actually the musicians, too. Hysterical and musical? So not fair.

#2 The Blues Brothers
Without a doubt, the Blues Brothers are the best thing to leave SNL for the big screen. Who'd have thought John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd could rock so much? (Another case of "hysterical and musical = unfair.") With their dark suits and constant sunglasses, they're the coolest guys in fake band history. They stand up to old blues classics, even though they're a couple of white comedians. And in the movie, they get to hold their own against Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, and Aretha Franklin. Who else could do that? Plus, The Blues Brothers movie is insanely funny on its own. Add a totally kick-ass soundtrack to that and you've got one of the best fake band movies ever made.

#1 The Commitments
I've got to admit, the Blues Brothers came close to claiming the number one spot; but in the end, the Commitments won out. The book is awesome. The movie is awesome. The soundtrack is awesome. The band is awesome. Made in 1991, the movie details the creation of a Dublin soul band bringing some life back to the Irish during the Troubles. Manager Jimmy Rabbitte is the inspiration for the group, and he's one of the most engaging characters in fake band-film. (I love his family and his imagined interviews with himself.) And the rest of the band is just as phenomenal. When auditioning for the movie, performers had to showcase their musical abilities before they could even read for a given part, and it shows. These guys know how to rock! With amazing motown songs, there is not one missed step in the film. Check out a couple of my favorite songs--"I Never Loved a Man" and (hell yeah) "Try a Little Tenderness":

Another amazing fact? The lead singer here, Andrew Strong, was a teenager when he played the role of Deco. How in the world did he get a voice like that?!

Plus, the movie itself is just awesome. It's not just an excuse to hear fun songs. The band has its own drama and, of course, things get complicated when egos and sex drives come into play. At every step, the Commitments are the best fake band in the history of the world.

Also, the movie is on Hulu until April 23! Watch now!

So there you go--my Top Twelve Fake Bands. Have you own favorites? Post in the comments!

What Killed the Dinosaurs

A giant hand!

One at a time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fun Blogs > Lame Blogs

Another fun blog find! In the grand tradition of Indexed, More Better uses basic math to comprehend the social world. In this case, it's just the > sign. But really, what more do you need?

A couple I agree with:

And a couple I don't:

Whether you agree or disagree, it can sure spark a conversation with friends/coworkers. Battle it out!

Heidi the Beagle

Okay, I have giggled at chubby beagles before. But this is actually really sad.

Obviously my latest thrill was The Daily Beagle. On their website, they have a link to beagle adoption/rescue sites, one of which is Beagles of the New England States. Basically, this is a way to torture myself, because they have beagles that you can adopt.

One of whom is Heidi.

Seriously, read her bio before you see her pictures. (The picture posted here is from Heidi in April, having lost an incredible amount of height.) Heidi is a 3 year-old beagle who had an abusive owner. He didn't have time for her and kept her in a crate, feeding her bad stuff to keep her quiet. (Ahem, why get a beagle if you don't want your dog to bark?! Jackass.) When the rescue picked her up, she weight 120 lbs (the average beagle weighs between 17 and 30 lbs) and could not move on her own. For a breed that loves to run, this is so sad!

Since her rescue, Heidi has lost 60 lbs. Her foster family has been so great in helping Heidi get healthy and really saving her life. You can check her progress on her website. She even has a blog! I love puppy blogs! Also, now that you've read her bio, you can check out her pictures. It's actually really upsetting to see a dog so overweight--and this was from when she was down to 80 lbs! I can't even imagine how sad it would have been to rescue Heidi at 120.

Feel sad for Heidi? Want to help her? You can adopt her and help her get the rest of the way to a healthy weight.

I would totally adopt her if I a) didn't live in an apartment, b) wasn't a student, c) had actually had a pet before and knew how to take care of one on my own.

Save Heidi!

Shoot 'Em Up

The title of this article alone annoyed me:

"Loud and Proud: Why women (secretly) love action movies."

Seriously? Seriously?

Who is this writer? Did she grow up Amish? Was she born in a 1950s sorority house? Does she also hide the fact that she'll have a beer every so often?

Let's dive in:

"Don't get me wrong -- I adore cinematic masterpieces and I appreciate a chick flick as much as the next gal, but I know I'm not alone in saying that many women love action movies -- and it no longer needs to be a secret."
Why in the world would loving an action movie need to be a secret? In fact, I think more women would admit to loving Die Hard than Made of Honor. (Of course, this also takes into account the quality of said action movie vs. said chick flick. For the sake of argument, let's pretend Made of Honor is an okay movie.) If you like an action movie, it makes you kind of badass and awesome. If you like a really sappy romantic comedy, it makes you flighty or vapid. I'm not saying that's how it should be--hell, I love a good lame romantic comedy--but I think that's how more people would view the choice. And if you like good action movies, it means you have good taste. The Kill Bill movies are insanely awesome. Why would you have to keep that to yourself? Hell, even movies that make fun of action movies--ahem, Hot Fuzz, anyone?--are awesome. Again, this isn't saying that all action movies are awesome, but there is certainly no reason to hide the fact that you may enjoy a good shoot-out every so often.

Moving on. Writer Sarah Haas gives some 'excuses' for watching action movies. Because sometimes kicking ass just isn't enough.

#1 Action Movies Are Like Exercise ... Without the Sweat

"For the most part, men seem to like physical activity. Women, for the most part, don't. What we like are the results. And the adrenaline kick!..So, although exercise can be a big pain in the backside -- sometimes, literally -- action movies are our way of getting the same intensely racing pulse, only we can scarf popcorn at the same time."

Oh, yeah. The guys I know love going to the gym. Ha! I go to the gym fairly regularly, and I would rather never need to work out, but once I get into I feel better and I like the post-workout endorphins. But I also know girls who are super sporty and love that kind of thing. Whereas most of my guy friends aren't in love with working out. We're not "pick up football game in the park on weekends" kind of people. So great way to generalize, Sarah.

#2 GI Jane Is a Better Role Model Than Barbie Dolls

"Whether playing brawn (Jodie Foster in The Brave One), brains (Diane Kruger in the National Treasure series) or both (Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix), in a cinematic world that mostly portrays women as straight love interests and ingénues, action heroines prove that women can be a powerful presence. And as Angelina Jolie so amply demonstrated in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, women don't have to deny their feminine virtues to break a sweat. We value our femininity, but we also respect someone who respects herself."
All right, she's got a point here. This is one of the reasons I love Buffy so much. Girls need to kick some ass, too. And even when the main characters aren't female, you can still appreciate anyone who kicks ass. (I really liked the recent Casino Royale.)

#3 They Provide an Escape

"For women, actions movies are the rare find that let them put their brains in standby mode....You'd think women could decompress with an old-fashioned rom-com, but the truth is, those often make us stress about different things (our romantic status, our looming age, etc.)...Action movies allow for vicarious living through attractive people with exciting lives."
Escapism, yes. But I totally disagree that romantic comedies still make women "stress about different things." After I watch The Notebook, I'm not stressed. Love, Actually makes me happy, not freaked out that I might not marry Colin Firth. (In fact, after watching 28 Days Later, I was a little stressed that zombies are going to attack and probably shouldn't have driven home.) In general, I would argue any kind of "mindless" movie--from action films to romantic comedies to normal comedies--are escapism. If a movie unnecessarily stresses me out afterwards, it's not a movie I want to watch again, no matter what the genre. From something a little mindless, I want simple entertainment.

#4 Power Is Sexy

"...recklessness and heroics combined with charming faces and intense butt-kicking make for engaging cinema. Women like bad boys; they also like pretty boys. In an action movie, they get both. The muscles don't hurt, either."

I think most leading actors/actresses in movies are meant to be sexy. And while I admit, the muscles don't hurt, not everyone likes the bad boys. Most of the time, I actually like the funny sidekick more. Also, and perhaps more importantly, this is not necessarily a reason to watch any movie. Hot, shirtless guys are great, but I also want a story that can entertain me for a couple of hours. But, of course, I'm just a girl and will drool for a few hours over a muscled action star.

#5 Bonding Over Stallone

"Like any good social anthropologist (which is, by nature, most women), we want to be up-close-and-personal with our subject of interest. Action movies allow us to bond with the male species in their natural environment. It's our way of taking an interest in the men we care about. Plus, it gives us a great bargaining chip to get our man to come along the next time we want to see a chick flick."

Why pretend to like action movies and waste a few hours of your life just to "play anthropologist" with your boyfriend? If you don't want to watch a movie, don't watch it. If you want to watch it, do it because you want to watch it. And that can be Bad Boys II or Gone with the Wind. Of course, you should be open to other genres, but you don't have to sit through something lame just to join the "boys' club" for a night.

(Also, don't drag your boyfriend to a chick flick if he really doesn't want to see it. How about you agree on a movie you both want to see?)

In short: Don't watch action movies for any lame reason listed here. Watch them because you want to. And don't be ashamed of any genre you like. If someone doesn't understand your love for Bad Boys II, who cares? You can love all kinds of movies/books/tv shows/music and not necessarily have to hide it.

Not that I want people to scan through my iPod...

Angst Your Sparkle Off

Oh my lord--the brooding stare, the clenched fists, the jacket-sans-shirt. Edward is in pain!

And it's hysterical.

Watch out, preteen girls. Your major angst is coming!

(via bookshelves of doom)

Can We Put That on the Back of the DVD Box?

Plot summaries are really hard to write. How can you distill a complicated plot down to a few sentences? Of course, sometimes you're not going for accuracy. Sometimes you want to insult people and mess with films.

Check out these uncomfortable plot summaries of famous movies. They're sure inspiring me to write the summary for my thesis!

Some favorites:

8 MILE: White man successfully coopts black culture to impress other whites.
BATMAN: Wealthy man assaults the mentally ill.
CUJO: Family neglects to give family pet rabies shots, pays price.
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF: Amoral narcissist makes world dance for his amusement.
GHOSTBUSTERS: Unemployed college professors destroy hotel with nuclear weapons.
HARRY POTTER: Celebrity Jock thinks rules don’t apply to him, is right
ROBIN HOOD: Disgruntled veteran protests taxes.

And lots more.