Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Quite Possibly The Stupidest Movie Ever Made

There's a difference between a bad movie and a stupid movie. A bad movie is just not very engaging, perhaps a weak story or poor film making is to blame. A stupid movie is a film where you just have to wonder, "Why was this film made!?". I've seen worse movies than Meet the Spartans, the number one movie at the box office this past weekend, but I defy you to find a stupider movie than this. Meet the Spartans is an odd mix of gross out humor, homophobic jokes, anachronistic sight gags, and pop culture references all hanging on a story line that is supposed to parody the epic film 300. The idea of making a comedy based on the ancient battle of Thermopylae is a great idea in my book. But the film is so dumb that it buries itself in the first two minutes with mind boggling unfunny jokes about Shrek and James Bond that it has to spend the rest of the movie working uphill to win you over.

About half way though the silliness I realized that they aren't trying to make a satirical movie or a parody, they are just trying to reference as many movies, tv shows, and websites as they can. That's fine and dandy, but most of them aren't funny. I could probably easily list 15 things they referenced for no reason what-so-ever: America's Next Top Model, Spiderman 3, Borat, Shaquelle O'Neile, American Idol, YouTube, Lindsay Lohan, Ugly Betty...I could go on!

It was just so horrible...yet I enjoyed it because it was so bizarre and so juvenile and you just can't believe that anyone thought any of this was a good idea, and that hundreds of people worked on it, and it probably cost a ton of money.

Like I said, it's just quite possibly the stupidest movie ever made - and that's coming from a guy who likes movies about robotic watchdogs, cross-country car races, and mules that can play football.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Have A Nice Flight!

Here's yet another reason why I love YouTube! Somebody posted an inflight video from Delta Airlines plugging Walt Disney World. The commercial is from 1987, and it drips with 80's-ness. Besides featuring the Kids of the Kingdom (an Up With People style musical act that performed in front of Cinderella's Castle in the early days) listen closely to Mickey Mouse and Goofy. This video is shortly before Disney had the somewhat obvious idea that the characters should have the same voices all the time. Whoever is providing Mickey's voice sounds like he just found out who Mickey Mouse was five minutes earlier. However you can't go wrong with this video's winning combination of variety show costumes and old school Disney cheer!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yogi Trailer

Some kids funning it up on the ol' YouTube...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Classic Carts

Welcome to one of the lamest posts ever! Last weekend when I was doing the post about Zayre's bathroom I was thinking of other places where remnants of long gone stores could be found. It is then that I remember there was a whole herd of old Bradlees' carts in front of an Ollie's Bargain Outlet down the road. So I swung by and snapped a picture. Bradlees was the closet department store to our house growing up, so I spent many a shopping hour in that store. I can actually remember buying records there and I can remember the day I realized that record albums were on their way out and cassette tapes were the next thing when Bradlees redid their music department. I was pretty upset to see the records go!

I don't know if this Ollie's store was a Bradlees before or not but if you've got an Ollie's near you, there's a good chance that you can find some traces of the store that used to be there. Ollie's doesn't do much to the spaces they take over. They just move their stuff in and open the door to the public. The cool thing about a store like Ollie's (or even Big Lots) is that you never know what you'll find inside.

One more thing...Bradlees had a great snack bar too. It was called The Tulip and they had good hamburgers and orange drink!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pimp My Ride - Mini Van Style

We got a new car! In Pennsylvania you have to get your car inspected every year. My 1997 Plymouth Grand Voyager has served us well and I've never had any major problems with it until about a year ago when the dashboard decided that it was only going to work when it felt like it. The estimate we were given to fix the problem was $2,000! So for the past year I've driven around with a working dashboard some of the time. It worked more than it didn't until last month it just shut down for good. The car still ran fine, I just couldn't tell how fast I was going or how much gas I had. The car was due for it's annual inspection at the end of January so basically we had until then to either fix the problem or get a new car. Since the car also had a broken air conditioner, broken driver's seat, and close to 170,000 miles we decided to look for a new car. And of course we waited until 2 1/2 weeks before our deadline to really do some shopping.

Anywho...after visits to many dealers and numerous test drives we're very happy with our selection of this 2006 Dodge Caravan. It's in beautiful shape and it only has 13,000 miles on it. The kicker is that this baby is fully loaded, which we weren't looking for and didn't expect in our price range but it's like this car just fell into our laps! It's got automatic side and rear doors, DVD system, 6 CD changer, GPS, Sunroof, stow and go seats, heated leather seats...It's freakin' awesome!

I was sad to let my old car go, but I'm pretty sure I'll be happy with this one!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I Took a Photo of a Men's Room Door

Seriously, this is the exact reason why I wanted to get a camera phone. Yesterday I was shopping at the crap-o-rama known as Big Lots and had to take my son to the rest room. Imagine my surprise when I was searching for the bathrooms and see the logo for my favorite old department store, Zayre, starring back at me. Of course I grabbed my cell phone and snapped a picture for the ol' blog. You might remember I did a post about Zayre a couple of months ago. Apparently Big Lots store #1016 used to be a Zayre. Of course this made me very excited but I couldn't find any other remnants of Zayre in the store. So we purchased our box of Spider-Man 3 cereal (with almost 3 months left before the expiration date) and we headed out of Big Lots. But we walked away with a little bit of the spirit of Zayre!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Virtual Windmill

I spent many of my childhood hours playing video games on the Atari 2600. A good chunk of that time was invested in a Jim-Dandy of a game known as Miniature Golf. Made in 1979, Atari's Miniature Golf brings all the thrills and chills of Mini Golf to your living room without all the....walking?!? In Miniature Golf you assume the role of Medium-Sized Blue Square. Your objective is to get you small yellow square into the tiny blue rectangle.

But Watch Out! There are obstacles on the way: like Back and Forth Moving Bigger Red Square! He'll knock your 2-bit butt all over the place if you're not careful! Miniature Golf on Atari is also unique in that the course is made up of holes that resemble nothing you'd actually find on a real Mini Golf course. This screen shot on the left I guess is supposed to represent a castle. The other holes are made up of random yellow obstacles.

I'm making a little fun of this game, but it's actually one of my favorite games from my childhood and I did spend a ridiculous amount of time playing it back in the day. It's nice that the one half-sport I did play as a child I could also play laying on my floor in my bedroom. Ahh...good times!

Monday, January 07, 2008

5 Movies I've Seen In the Theatre That Nobody Else Has

As I've said before, I used to go to the movies all the time. I've seen alot of crap that nobody has ever heard of before, but these five films might rank at the top of the obsecurity list!

Scenes From the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989) I don't remember much about this movie except for one bizarre sexual topic that I learned about from this movie and I can't repeat here...ok, it involves wrapping a plastic bag around your head...but anyhow, this movie's big claim to fame is that it was the first feature film appearance of Rebecca Schaeffer. Schaeffer was a young actress who also appeared in the short lived sit-com "My Sister Sam". In her movie debut, Schaeffer appeared in a sex scene (without the plastic bag) which enraged an obsessed fan of hers. Shortly after the films release, the fan tracked her down at her Hollywood home and shot her dead. Quite honestly, I'm lucky I wasn't a suspect in that murder since I'm the only other person who had seen that movie at the time!

Robot Jox (1990) You may have seen this one on cable TV sometime. It's a cross between Transformers and Tron except it had the budget of neither of them. And it was in the days before computer imagery so all the special effects are done in miniature. All it all, it was actually a pretty good little sci-fi action flick. Among the cast members was Anne-Marie Johnson who at the time I was probably a pretty big fan of from her work in "Hollywood Shuffle" and "What's Happening Now!". I saw this at the ol' Westview Cinemas on Rt. 40 in Catonsville, MD. A fantastic theatre where I saw many an obscure film.

Happily Ever After (produced in 1988, released in 1993) I saw this movie simply because I'm a loyal Filmation fan. (Filmation is the cartoon studio that produced any Saturday morning cartoons that weren't made by Hanna-Barbera.) It's an attempt to create a sequel to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs except that when Disney heard of this idea they threatened legal action against Filmation. So, Filmation turned the dwarfs into the dwarfelles - the female counterparts of the original dwarfs. The movie boasts an "all-star" cast including Ed Asner, Irene Cara, Carol Channing, Dom DeLuise, and Phillis Diller. When I saw this in the theatre, the power went our for about 20 minutes near the end of the film. While we were sitting in the dimly lit room in near silence waiting for the movie to come back on the five year old girl sitting in front of me turned to her mother and said "I think the mysterious man in the cloak is actually the prince." She kind of gave away the ending for me because I hadn't figured that out yet.

Brenda Starr (produced in 1989, released in 1992)
Here's another flick that sat on the shelves ageing before I plopped down my six bucks. This movie was so bad that I can't remember a single thing about it. I guess the only thing I remember about it is that it was bad. This was also another great Westview Cinemas screening.

Body Chemistry (1990) Back in the day, before it was an accepted practice to make movies directly for video, producers would often release low-budget video features to a handful of theatres just so that could put things like "U.S. Theatrical Run" and "Fresh From Theatres" on the video box and in the advertising. I only went to see it because I knew it was a direct to video movie. I would never go see a film where a man's nipple is so prominently displayed in the advertising.

Hey, If I've ever dragged you to an obscure movie that I haven't mentioned here please shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment and refresh my memory!

Friday, January 04, 2008

An Ernest Deal

Check out this sweet little deal I kicked off the New Year with: Six Ernest tapes on 2 DVDs! The real gem in this collection for me is "Your World As I See It," which is a collection of short films spotlighting various other characters Jim Varney created. I've only ever seen bits and pieces of this on YouTube so it's a blast to be able to add it to my collection. Second is "Hey Vern, It's My Family Album," a mid-80's TV special that Varney produced for Tennessee area stations. I've seen this film at least three dozen times and my VHS copy (which is a copy off of a rental) has seen better days so it's nice to upgrade this to DVD. Then you've got "Ernest's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2" which are both often visited tapes in my library. They both contain about an hour's worth of vintage Ernest commercials from all over the country (but mostly the south) and some behind the scenes footage as well. Replacing my well worn copies of these two tapes with digital copies is also well worth the price I paid. Rounding out the collection are the last two Ernest feature films "Ernest Goes to Africa" and "Ernest in the Army" neither in the same league as the first five Ernest movies, but both way better than the seventh film "Slam Dunk Ernest."

How much would you expect to pay for such a fine collection of classic entertainment? Well, this beauty only set me back five bucks! Now playing at your local Wal-Mart bargain DVD bin. It don't get any better than that. KnowhutImean, Vern?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

My 2007 At The Movies

Happy New Year! I love going to the movies. However, as a stay-at-home dad with two kids under 5 and a wife who works and goes to school, I don't get a whole lotta chances to make it to the movie theatre anymore. Before I was a daddy I usually went at least once a week. Since fatherhood I'm managed to average about 10 movies a year. This year I actually made it to 15! Here's a quick rundown of what I shelled out my wife's hard earned money to see...

Epic Movie I'm a sucker for these Airplane! type slapstick parodies. This one's target was pretty much everything in popular culture from the last year. While these affairs are always hit-or-miss, when Epic Movie missed it missed pretty hard. Still, I'll be in line to see these guys next film Meet the Spartans - another gag filled spoof using 300 as it's basis.

Meet the Robinsons The rest of the Disney online community really loved this new computer animated sci-fi/comedy from Walt Disney Feature Animation. I found it to be a little too far-fetched and a bit too obnoxious. The best part of seeing it in the theatre was the inclusion of a classic 1930's Mickey Mouse cartoon. That was worth the price of admission alone!

Grindhouse This film actually made movie-going an experience. Grindhouse is a double-feature of two full length films both made to look like they were shot in the 70's. The picture is grainy and scratched up, the soundtrack is dated, and there were even reels of the movies "missing". The most fun came with the screening of trailers for other fake 70's flicks. Now on DVD, the movie is split into it's two features: Planet Terror and Death Proof.

Shrek 3 Seriously, someone at DreamWorks just turned on the Shrek machine and went out to get some Jack-in-the-Box. I enjoyed the first two Shrek films, but this third one was so lazy and uncreative. I had to force myself to laugh just to keep awake. By the time number four rolls around my kids will be old enough that I won't have the choice of skipping it!

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Last time I checked, weren't action movies supposed to have action in them!? This was a major snooze-fest! Enough with the talking already...save the day by stretching or turning into fire for pete's sake! You know a superhero movie is bad when the superheroes don't really use their powers.

Knocked Up This movie plays on two levels. For the youngins' in the audience it's a vulgar silly comedy. For the married with kids audience it's a brilliant satire on married life and what having kids can do to your life. It's funny as all-get-out and it's very entertaining. If you haven't seen it yet you should go to a place where DVDs are sold or rented and buy it...or rent it!

Live Free or Die Hard How about plopping down your eight bucks for a ticket and then just having the crap entertained out of you until your exhausted! Die Hard 4 was awesome and a great time at the movies. Wall to wall action with minimal story to follow equals a good time!

Transformers Not only was this toy-based movie filled with action sequences, it also had some of the funniest stuff in the theatre all summer. Using giant transforming robots for comedy purposes is a great idea. However, does Anthony Anderson need to be in one of the top grossing movies of the year!?

Ratatouille This movie is beautiful, fun and very original. I see it's near the top of every critics "Best of `07" list and there's a reason for it. This is a rare case of animation putting story above merchandising, soundtrack sales, or pleasing the kiddies. This is simply put a fantastic movie that everyone should see.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry The problem with alot of comedies is that they aren't consistently funny throughout the whole picture. Chuck & Larry was filled with laughs from beginning to end. There's a good chemistry between stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James plus there are several outstanding supporting actors and characters to back them up. I was really surprised with how funny this flick was. Another good time at the movies!

The Simpsons Movie I was one of those people waiting years for this movie to be made, and it was worth the wait. Just plain funny...they did so many things right in translating the TV show into a full length film. Of all the movies I saw this year, this is the one that I'm most looking forward to rewatching on DVD. (And I got it for Christmas - Yeah!)

Mr. Woodcock This was one of those times where I had the chance to go to a movie and there wasn't anything I really wanted to see. Back in the old days I would have seen 20-30 movies of this caliber a year. Still, it was a good time and a pretty decent comedy. Billy Bob Thorton plays his "disgruntled guy" character here once again, yet he does it so well it's fun to watch. Plus Amy Poheler was on board and you can't go wrong with her.

The Comebacks Yeah! I got two movie-spoofs in one year. This one was much better than Epic Movie. Here, every cliche in sports movies is raked over the coals in this tale of a coach who's never won a game in his whole career. A much better hit-and-miss ration than other comedies of it's type in the past few years.

Bee Movie Bee Movie was actually well done and a very enjoyable movie. It's basically The Jerry Seinfeld Movie except Jerry is a bee. It's got lots of slapstick for the kids and some surprisingly adult jokes for the older members in the audience.

Alvin and the Chipmunks This is all I can say about Alvin: What was there was cute but there wasn't much there. It's a little better than you'd expect but not much more! I was there as a daddy, and my son really enjoyed it so that's all that counts!

Well...maybe in 2008 I can make it to just as many movies, if not more!
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