Thursday, August 30, 2007
The Last 5 Out: Baseketball, Austin Powers 2, Dodgeball, Borat, Caddyshack.
20. Wet Hot American Summer Pluses: If you like stupid comedy, this is one for you. A couple of LOL scenes. Paul Rudd. Minuses: A few realllly stupid parts. One of the worst endings ever.
19. Ace Ventura Pet Detective Pluses: When it came out, arguably the funniest movie I had ever seen. Lots of good quotes, changed how we all talked for awhile. Minuses: When it came out, I was like 11. It has not held up very well.
18. Zoolander Pluses: This one sort of started the whole "Frat Pack" with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, etc. Great movie to watch while hammered. Good quotes. Great re-watchability. The kind of movie where you're always happy when you stumble across it on TV. Minuses: Not many, so I'll say that Ferrell should've been more involved.
17. Superbad Pluses: Great one-liners. The whole sub-plot with McLovin and the cops. Jonah Hill finally gets his shot at headlining a movie. A couple of parts where I am doubled over in laughter. Minuses: A few parts drag. Like the other movies done by this comedy troop (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up), could be about 20 minutes shorter. I just saw this, so this rating is undoubtedly either too high or too low.
16. Billy Madison Pluses: Adam Sandler in a nutshell. Lots of good one-liners. At the time was a top 5 movie. Minuses: Adam Sandler in a nutshell. Still good, but has fallen a lot for me the last couple years.
15. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Pluses: I can't really say enough about Mike Myers. The Austin Powers movies were a whole new kind of comedy. Dr. Evil is one of the funniest characters ever. Re-watchability is really, really high. Minuses: I can't think of many. The only reason this movie is so low is that all the movies in the trilogy kind of run together for me.
14. South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut Pluses: I am a HUGE fan of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. For whatever reason, they own the keys to my comedy car. Great re-watchability. It's getting up on 10 years and I still love this movie almost as much as when it came out. Minuses: Most of the songs are hiiii-larious, but a couple aren't. This movie is dangerously close to a musical.
13. Team America Pluses: Once again, Parker and Stone. Puppets always, always make me laugh. There is lots of blatantly stupid humor, but also legitmately funny, well-written parts too. Maybe the hardest I have ever laughed in a movie theater was during this movie. Minuses: Like South Park, lots of songs. Although pretty much all of these songs are great, especially the montage song. The more I think about this movie, the more I think I have it too low.
12. Big Lebowski Pluses: Hall of Fame performances by Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. Good re-watchability. Great soundtrack throughout. Gratuitous use of swear words, which makes for a great drinking game before kickball. Good minor characters by John Turturro and Steve Buscemi. Minuses: This is easily the worst movie on this list to watch on TV, due to the editing. "You see what happens Larry? This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!" Schneweis will be very angry at this somewhat low rating.
11. Super Troopers Pluses: Immediate re-watchability is through the roof. Tons of good one-liners that become incorporated into everyday speech, to the point that I don't even realize I'm quoting this movie. I loved this movie before it was popular, and got to pimp it to all my friends. In the theater, there was only one other couple in attendance, and they walked out halfway through, and I had to put my foot down with my girlfriend at the time because she wanted to walk out too. Minuses: I haven't watched it recently,and I'm thinking it might fade quite a bit over time. We'll see. Also, I could do without full frontal male nudity.
10. Austin Powers: Goldmember Pluses: We have discussed A.P. already. I chose this one as my favorite maybe because it has more one-liners, or maybe because it's newer. Whatever, they're all awesome. Minuses: Beyonce. She is, by a wide margin, the worst of the Powers' Girls. I could say that some of the running gags get a little old after 3 movies, but they really don't. I wish they would make a 4th movie.
9. 40 Year Old Virgin Pluses: I can't say enough about the first hour and a half. The "You Know How I Know You're Gay?" scene. Paul Rudd. Seth Rogen. Romany Malco (maybe my favorite under-the-radar actor. He is also awesome in the TV show Weeds and the VH1 movie where he plays MC Hammer. If you watch the end credits when they are all dancing, Malco even pulls out the Hammer dance.) If the entire movie was about those guys, this might be top 5. Minuses: The last half hour is pretty much unwatchable for me. I literally shut it off every time with about a half hour to go. As good as the first 75% is, that's how bad the last 25% is.
8. Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle Pluses: Tons and tons of re-watchability. Good one-liners. Great soundtrack. The scene where they pick up Doogie Howser is fantastic. Who knew that Van Wilder's assistant and the Asian guy from the MILF scene in American Pie would be so funny? Minuses: Not many of my friends know of or like this movie very much, so I'm usually going it alone on this one. What can I say? This movie just does it for me.
7. Knocked Up Pluses: Awesome one-liners. Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd again. Rogen, in particular, is fantastic. And I don't know if Rudd has done anything I haven't found hilarious. The immediate re-watchability is great; I have seen it 3 times and it's not out on DVD yet. The scene at the dinner table where they talk about Back to the Future. The whole subplot where they make fun of their friend's beard to get him to shave it. Minuses: Basically the exact same drawbacks as 40 Year Old Virgin. Judd Apatow (who wrote and directed both movies), apparently likes to make a great hour and a half comedy, then add another half hour to have a moral/happy ending, which features only a couple of laughs. I won't quite shut off this movie....but it'll be close. Also, there is a deleted scene where Jonah Hill talks about Brokeback Mountain which features the line "I don't need to see Anne Hathaway's tits! I need to see Jake Gyllenhaal on all fours gettin' a mouth full of Ledger!" Here, watch it. This needs to be in the movie. Somewhere.
6. Happy Gilmore Pluses: Great immediate re-watchability. Still holds up over time. Lots of great one-liners, and lots of everyday use one-liners. Julie Bowen in her prime. This movie had a couple effects on society: people calling each other Shooter mockingly, and people trying to hit golf balls like Happy, at least once. The minor characters are unparalleled: the caddy, the crazy fan, the big scary guy, Kevin Nealon as a fellow pro golfer, Ben Stiller as the retirement home director. The fight with Bob Barker= legendary. Even the names are awesome: Happy Gilmore. Shooter McGavin. Chubbs Peterson. Minuses: Horrible on TV. Tons and tons of bloopers/errors. That's about it.
5. Wedding Crashers Pluses: Approximately 38,117 one-liners. Turned the activity of wedding crashing, which everyone can do, into an art form. Vince Vaughn at his best. Some of the funniest stuff was improvised by Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Plenty of eye candy throughout the movie. Great re-watchability. Minuses: The last part drrrraaaagggs. If not for the appearance of Will Ferrell, it would be just about unbearable.
4. Grandma's Boy Pluses: Finally, Adam Sandler's buddies who appear in all of his movies get a chance to make their own. This is pretty much a movie with one one-liner after another. You don't go more than a minute or two, max, without laughing hard. I fell madly in love with Nick Swardson after this movie. The geek from Dodgeball returns to play one of my favorite characters ever: JP, the child prodigy who talks in a robot voice when he's nervous. Jonah Hill, Kevin Nealon, David Spade, and even Diesel (my favorite WWF wrestler when I was 10) have great roles. Re-watchability is ridiculous. This movie holds a special spot in my heart because I introduced it to just about every single person I know before it blew up. Minuses: On the flip side of "discovering" it in my part of the world, now I get mad when I hear random people quoting it, like I own rights or something. Especially when Swardson came to G.F. to do stand-up, and everyone went out to rent it so they knew what he was talking about.
3. Tommy Boy Pluses: Rewatchability. One-liners. Everyday use one-liners. Altered my life when it came out. Chris Farley and David Spade were a pretty much unbeatable team. Absolutely ridiculously funny to a 6th grader. Minuses: I don't know how much of this ranking is me trying to pay homage to my favorite movies growing up or if it's deserved. There are lots of movies I would rather watch on this list right now. It stills holds up pretty well, but the comedy is definitely not as edgy 12 years old.
2. Anchorman Pluses: I can say with a straight face that 95% of everything that comes out of someone's mouth in this movie counts as a one-liner. This movie changed my life more than any other. I regularly talk in an Anchorman tone of voice when being sarcastic now. When it first came out on DVD, St. Aubyn and I watched it probably 25 times the first week. When we were out drinking, we magically morphed into Ron Burgundy and Brian Fantana, to the point where we would piss everyone else off, to which we would reply in some Anchorman line, laugh, and continue on. After a year and a half, I had to get a new DVD because my first one wore out. I don't even know if I can adequately describe how much this movie means to me, and this paragraph is borderline non-sensical, so I'll stop trying. Minuses: The plot really is awful. Just awful. But you're laughing throughout, so you barely have time to realize how dumb it is. Also, is this rating boosted because of memories of St. Aubyn and I acting afool? Probably. I suppose that's part of the ranking system.
1. Dumb & Dumber Pluses: As much as I can go on about Anchorman, Dumb & Dumber was even better. It taught a whole generation of kids about comedy. Rewatchability. Holds up over time. Good from start to finish. One-liners. Everyday use one-liners. Even mannerisms from this movie have become part of my everyday personality. Jim Carrey hitting his ceiling. I can't remember a movie that had more hype right when it came out, and this is when I was 12, before I read things on the internet and things like that. This was the first movie I ever saw twice in the theater, which is big because it was like a week's allowance just to go see it. Minuses: None. I defy someone to find something wrong with Dumb & Dumber.
My brain hurts. Argue away.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Due to my recent influx of spare time, I have been able to see quite a bit more of the beloved Sox. By "see", I mean "watch on GameCast while playing Madden." And they have rewarded me by going on a nice little streak, including the 4 game destruction of the ChiSox's pitching staff. I actually got to watch the last two of those games on TV. As Saturday's game reached the 6th inning with both teams combining for just two hits, I was thinking here we go again. A couple hours and 14 runs later, and I was laughing all the way to The Bomb Shelter, a.ka. Lane and Skye's house, where we got innihilated for the second Saturday in a row. After this last week, and even after last night's amazingly predictable loss to the Yanks, I have reached my apex of optimism about the Sox. The bats, which have been mediocre at best in clutch spots, have picked up considerably, as evidenced by the sheer number of 4, 5, or 6 run innings they have accumulated lately. The pitching of Wakefield, and Tavarez in his spot starts has been wonderful. Perhaps most importanly, it looks like the Ortiz/Manny combo is heating up. Even Gagne has settled down. Although I have more confidence in Jon Kitna as my starting fantasy QB than I do in Gagne being reliable in the postseason.
Speaking of fantasy football, as Pauldo has stated on the message board already, why don't they do a serpentine style draft? When Bergman gets both Brees and Tomlinson, Jeff gets both McNabb and Stephen Jackson, French gets both Bulger and Gore, etc. etc. and my team features Brian Westbrook and Jon F'ing Kitna....brutal. Plus both my QBs have the same bye week. So I got that going for me....which is nice. That being said, in retrospect, I would've taken Kitna last year in a second, and avoided the Daunte Culpepper/Byron Leftwich/Damon Huard/David Garrard/Chad Pennington Experience.
I also have gone on a music downloading spree lately, which was must-needed because my current selection was getting a bit stale. Here are some of my favorites****
The WAND- The Flaming Lips
I'm In Heaven When You Smile- Van Morrison
Superhero- Jane's Addiction
Been Caught Stealing- Jane's Addiction
You're My Best Friend- Queen
Shimmy Shimmy Ya- Ol' Dirty Bastard
Generator- The Holloways
Two Left Feet- The Holloways
I Need More Love- Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Touch Me Again- Bernard Pretty Purdie
Dead Reckoning- Clint Mansell (the song from the end scene in Smokin' Aces. No words, but amazing nonetheless)
Heartbeats- Jose Gonzales
Daughter- Loudon Wainwright III
****Keep in mind that the preceding musical recommendations have been given to you by a guy who recently discovered that "Mmmbop" by Hanson has just cracked his top 25 most played songs in his iTunes, and who referenced a Heavy D & the Boyz song for the title of this post. So keep that in mind.
Friday, August 24, 2007
- Speed limits. Much faster here than in Grand Forks. Roads that would be 30 in G.F. are 40 here. There are a couple of spots where it is 45 here. In G.F., you basically have to be out of town before you can drive 45 legally. Awesome.
- Prices. I always thought G.F. was cheap, and it is, but after experiencing dollar beers, 35 cent wings, 4 dollar pizza buffets, and 16 dollar 30-packs of Miller Lite in my first week, I realized that Lawrence is probably even cheaper.
- Less unnecessary stoplights. Self-explanatory.
- Downtown. Tons of restaurants and bars, and I might even start getting into the live music scene.
- The Phog. Getting to drive by the Phog once or twice a day while picking up or dropping off Alex is much better than driving by the Ralph. Not to take anything away from the Ralph, which is arguably the nicest arena in the country, but it just doesn't do it for me like The Phog does.
Although I would be remiss if I didn't say that the no drinking rule at the softball complex is horrible. Just horrible. That's taking away roughly 60% of the fun out of softball. Also, I am not a fan of street names changing for no apparent reason. 15th Street becomes Bob Billings; 23rd becomes Clinton Parkway; 31st wraps around and becomes Kasold. Could do without that. But I'm splitting hairs.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Is that St. Aubyn and I, or D.C. the Brain Supreme and Steve Roll'n?
Apparently we had quite a cheering section.
Of course, once everyone else learned there was a microphone available, Austin, T. Nels, Kuntz, and everyone else wanted in on the action. I believe right here we are singing "Afternoon Delight."
...and all this, of course, led to the inevitable taking away of the microphone by Anthony and Erica.
Chelsey's husband Mike was ruining people's pictures all night like it was his job.
Here are Alex, Chelsey, Smapes, and Kristen. This must have been early on in the night because our table is not yet completely covered by drinks.
Deuce, me, St. Aubyn, and Kuntz. Somewhere along the ride we decided it would be funny if we all popped our collars. Ha. Ha. Ha. Kuntz may or may not be shitting his pants when this was taken.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Probably my favorite thing about moving is finding the new places you love to eat and drink. I already have a few faves from previous visits to Lawrence (Louise's West, Biggs Barbeque, Henry T's) and last night I found another one in Jefferson's. It has great wings and good prices, and it has a Parrot's Cay kind of feel to it. The downtown in general is a million times better than GF. Within 2 minutes of our place we have a Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, Mass Beverage (a liquor store), JC Penney, Subway, and Sonic (SONIC!!) Bergman and I ate there 3 times in 3 days, and I will regularly be picking up a 44 ounce Strawberry LimeAde for 99 cents on my way to work in the morning. Once I get a job, that is. Overall, I feel very good about this city. Here are some pictures for those of you who are visual learners. Danny, hopefully you get to an internet and see these before your arrival.
Here is our small kitchen. Alex is midly distressed by the lack of cupboard space, but I am pretty OK with it. Hot pockets, pizza rolls, and microwavable chicken wings all go in the freezer anyway.
Here is my bedroom, AKA the Fortress of Solitude. The one thing I am not thrilled about regarding our new place is that basically the bedrooms are slightly glorified dorms. Not much room to put random stuff, and for a guy who owns things like a life-size Princess Leia cutout, this is not a good thing. We will be sleeping in Alex's room, so this will essentially be a spare room/video game room. My unpacking job leaves a little bit to be desired.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Anyways, for those readers who haven't been to the Manor, just ignore this paragraph. For everyone else: the landing at the bottom of the steps is now a sleek hardwood; there is a new front door and a new door leading to the roof; new carpet in the living room; all the wood paneling in the living room is gone, replaced by a new coat of paint; the bedrooms are all painted that color now; the elementary school-style panel lights are gone, to be replaced by lamps; and the carpet in the kitchen that had been permanently destroyed by flippy cup is now linoleum. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
Monday is moving day, and although I am plenty excited to leave Grand Forks and start real life, I can't help but be nostalgic, since I have lived here for 19 years. Here are some things I will miss:
- Noonball. I couldn't imagine playing ball with a better group of guys.
- Being able to drive from anywhere in town to anywhere else in 12 minutes or less.
- Fat Albert's, Happy Joe's, and Popolino's. I'm excited to find new favorite food places in Lawrence, but I am nervous (yes, nervous. I have the appetite of a morbidly obese man, and I take food seriously) that I will not find places to match up with those three.
- The fact that the most expensive season golf pass in town was $450. Actually the prices of everything were nice. I can't back this up with any facts, but I'm pretty sure UND is one of the cheapest universities in the country.
- Summers. We pay for it in winter, but for someone like me who can't function in 95 degrees, our summers are gorgeous. Even though they only last 2 1/2 months.
- The general attitude about drinking held by most everyone. This town seems to have many events that enthusiastically promote drinking that begins at 7 AM (or earlier, when we were younger and abused alcohol more.) My favorites are the curling tournament at Southgate, and, of course, Springfest, which has made national news, and probably deserves its own post.
However, me being the cynical asshole that I sometimes am, I couldn't leave out things that I will not miss:
- The streetlight situation. This falls under the general category of "town officials thinking G.F. is bigger and cooler than it really is." Yeah, our population is growing. Does that mean we need a stoplight at 20th and 24th (Bringewatt Park), in the middle of a residential area, when the old four-way stop worked JUST FINE? How about at 17th and 34th (Century school)? 20th and Gateway? Which, not coincidentally, leads the league by a wide margin in "most red lights getting blatantly run through by people who are pissed that there is even a light there in the first place." I did this probably 20-25 times a year.
- The sports coverage. Obviously I don't fault us for having the Minnesota teams as our teams. In Ron Burgundy voice: "It's geography." My beef is the inconsistency. Since we are D-I in hockey, and UND merits national attention, then Minnesota is our bitter, hated rival. Oh boy! The Gophers are coming to town! Boooooo!!!!! But then, when the article is about college basketball, our headline is "Gophers Drop Heartbreaker" and goes on to talk about them like they are our boys. I would rather they just not talk about college basketball. This made me unbelievably mad, even as an 8 year old, and forced me to choose favorite teams from all over the country rather than follow our own "teams."
- The fact that we are a hockey town and not a basketball town. One of the reasons why I am most excited to move to Lawrence. I fucking hate hockey.
- Whenever the river level rises a bit in the spring, we are barraged with comparisons to the water level on that date in 1997, and given multiple projections and scenarios and charts and graphs, and the mathematical possibilities of 1997 happening again, juuuuust til it gets to the point where you get sucked in and start worrying that flood is going to reoccur, and then of course the water crests and you feel stupid for buying into the hype.
- The Alerus Center. In its defense, I will say it's cool when you go to playoff football games and it's indoors, not -31 with the windchill; but once again, our city is not big enough or cool enough to warrant having it. And now of course it's hemorrhaging money, and the powers that be don't understand why. Really? A city of under 60,000 with rural surroundings and a large elderly/Norwegian contingent couldn't sell out the Backstreet Boys? Are you serious?
Anyways, Grand Forks has been very good to me, and I will miss it. Sort of.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Settle down. No, really. Settle down. Yes, I traded Luis Castillo. I probably should've traded Torii Hunter too, but after a pack of unruly 60-year-olds in Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek jerseys tried to strangle me with their 1987 Homer Hankies, I agreed not to trade him. We'll just let him walk in the offseason for no compensation. That's cool. So why did I trade Castillo? Simple, really. Here's a message that you guys haven't accepted yet, and Bert Blyleven sure as hell won't tell you: WE WEREN'T GOING TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR. I swear to God, if one more player is quoted as saying that we are 'getting ready to make a run like last year', I'll cut him. I'll do it. I don't care how many homers he has, or how many teenage girls love his sideburns. He'll be cut. Jeeeezus Christ. Do you realize how unbelievable last year was? Do you?!? We won like 70 of our last 100 fuckin' games!!! We had the batting champ, Cy Young winner AND MVP!! Every single player on our roster played to the absolute best of his ability every day for like 4 months! Detroit crapped the bed like we gave them laxatives! That is never happening again! You fans were wayyyy easier to deal with when we sucked and you guys never set foot within a mile radius of the Metrodome, except when the Vikings were playing.
OK, that's just my opinion. Want some facts? Here is a list of teams in the AL with better records than us: Boston, L.A., Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Seattle. Toronto is only 2 back of us. We have a brutal schedule down the stretch. Half of our remaining schedule is against teams with better records than us. We have an upcoming 9 game road trip at KC (best record in AL the last month) at L.A., and at Seattle. Our last 7 games of the year are in Detroit and in Boston. The Metrodome, coincidentally, is not in any of those cities. Yikes.
So yeah, we're probably not getting in this year. But besides all that, why am I getting skewered for making this trade with Castillo? Hey guys! Remember me? I'm the same guy who traded Dave Hollins straight up for David Ortiz....Remember? No? How about Chuck Knoblauch for Eric Milton and Christian Guzman? C'mon! They turned out to be all-stars, and he forgot how to throw the ball to first base!!! What about Bobby Kielty for Shannon Stewart? He pretty much saved our season that year! Still not recent enough? What about getting rid of A.J. Piersyznski for Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, AND Francisco Fucking Liriano? Clubhouse cancer for all-star closer, solid starter, and future franchise pitcher!!! I know what I'm doing here. Lay off. Fuck.
I mean, the Vikings currently have a QB controversy between Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger....can't you guys complain about that for a while?