Tag Archives: See

Trailer Thursday: “Cloud Atlas”

What do you get you combine the mad genius minds behind “The Matrix” trilogy and the quick-cut renegade who directed “Run Lola Run”? Well, apparently, something like “Cloud Atlas”. I’m not sure what this movie is about or how each segment relates to the others, but, holy crap, does it look cool!

It also looks like the kind of movie that audiences are either gonna love or totally hate with a passion. With ideas this big, sweeping and crazy, there will be no middle ground and that makes me wanna see it even more! Go, “Cloud Atlas”!

Oh yeah, and if you dig the trailer, you might wanna watch the highly-unusual trailer introduction taped by the film’s directors, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and his new sister, Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski.

That’s right, amigos, one of the big galoots behind “The Matrix” is now a chick. And not a bad-looking one at that. I’m kinda digging the pink dreads…very “Run Lola Run” of her. Good on you, Lana!

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2012 London Olympics

Just wanted to let you guys know that the majority of our usual Olympics coverage has moved over to our sister blog, Stay-at-Home-Yeti. It’s not that I don’t love y’all anymore, it’s just way too hard to juggle two blogs, a toddler and NBC’s wall-to-wall coverage of this year’s Summer Olympics.

So, for now, if you wanna read my take on the events in London…click here.

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Anderson Cooper makes it official…

By now you’ve probably all heard the news that really isn’t news at all. Yep, that’s right, Anderson Cooper, the king of understated elegance and class — in his personal life at least. His talk show, which we used to LOVE, has become kind of circus-freaky lately — has officially come out as gay. Not really surprising, I mean, hello, the dude wore Prada suits when he hosted “The Mole” back in the day, but, in my  mind it’s always good when a major celebrity comes out.

And it’s even better news when a major celebrity comes out and nobody really cares or makes a big old deal about it. That’s the way it should be. Congrats on coming out, dude, but, seriously, try to reign in the crazy next season on “The Anderson Cooper” show. It’s gone a wee bit off the rails

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Google Doodle Celebrates Drive-In Movie Theatres!

I know it’s a little late in the day to bring this up, but, did anyone notice that cool-ass Google Doodle that’s been up all day today? And if you noticed it, did you take the time to actually click on it too?

Well, just in case you missed it, here again for your viewing pleasure is Google’s salute to the 79th birthday of the drive-in theatre! Wow…who knew they had drive-ins in the 1930′s? Crazy, huh?

Anyway, enjoy the clip below and if you happen to be lucky enough to live near a drive-in, I command you to head over there and get your outdoor movie theatre on! I grew up near the late, great Skyview drive-in in Santa Cruz and have many tales to tell of my adventures there, none of them suitable for a family blog, but all of them as vivid and wonderful as drive-in culture itself! Oh, the memories…

Happy 79th birthday drive-ins…seriously, you don’t look a day over 50 to me!

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Trailer Thursday: “Moonrise Kingdom”

OK, I take back what I said about not being excited about any of the films screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, because, the latest movie from Wes Anderson looks totally amazing!

Usually, I’m kind of cautiously excited about a new Wes Anderson flick, but, he’s been on a roll lately with The Darjeeling Limited and the weirdly-wonderful Fantastic Mr. Fox, so, I’m betting Moonrise Kingdom will rock. And if nothing else, it will look cool and have a kick-ass soundtrack. Either way…enjoy!

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Cannes Film Festival Poster (2012)

Wow…it’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. How busy, you ask? So busy that I didn’t have any time to blog about this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped up Sunday. Yep, I said wrapped up, as in, the festival is over, the jury has gone home and I didn’t mention any of that nerdiness on my blog. Sad, huh?

I dunno if it was the lackluster slate of films in competition or maybe the fact that the star-factor of the jury left me kinda cold — even with Obi Wan himself, Ewan McGregor, on the panel! — but, for some reason, I just wasn’t that jazzed about this year’s fest. No Wong Kar-Wai, no David Lynch, no Woody, no Terrence Malick, hell, I woulda settled for another Tarantino master class, but, nope, not this year.

That said, the official poster for this year’s festival was freaking gorgeous, so, instead of babbling on and on about the films and filmmakers in attendance, this time, I’ll simply post the poster here instead. Enjoy!

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Happy Mother’s Day from “Brave”

I know I’ve been away for a while, but, hopefully this beautiful new Mother’s-Day-specific trailer for the upcoming Pixar release Brave will help soothe any hurt feelings out there. I still love this blog to death, but, actually contributing to it on a daily basis is another matter. Generating fresh content for two blogs, working on a spec screenplay and raising a toddler is hard, yo!

Anyway, I promise to come around more often (especially with Cannes on the horizon!) but, in the meantime, please enjoy this totally awesome trailer…and happy Mother’s Day!

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R.I.P. Davy Jones

For a brief shining moment in our youth, my brother and I were really, really into The Monkees. Re-runs of the show played an Channel 44 every day after school and it was so weird and goofy-funny that we started racing home to watch it. Like, every day. That said, we were also huge fans of another iconic, after-school staple, The Brady Bunch.

So, when a star from The Monkees (Davy Jones) made a now-legendary guest appearance on The Brady Bunch, well, that was big-ass news in our house.

The episode was awesome, Davy Jones rocked it, and Maureen McCormick was at the peak of her loveliness (meaning, she had boobs) but the kicker was the last line of the show when Mr. Jones kissed Marcia on the cheek and she uttered the eternal line: “I’ll never wash this cheek again…” The perfect last line to the perfect episode. Except, it never happened. That’s right, myself and hundreds of other bloggers out there today simply got our Brady Bunch episodes mixed up.

Contrary to popular lore, and Patton Oswald’s hilarious tweet (see, he got it wrong too!) the Davy Jones episode ended with Marcia simply kissing him on the cheek after he promised to take her to the prom. The legendary “cheek washing” line was actually taken from a much earlier episode of the show, where a much younger, (pre-boobs) Marcia uttered the line after being kissed on the cheek by Desi Arnaz Jr.! Yikes, I would have seriously bet everything I own that that line was about Davy Jones…who knew?!

Anyway, regardless of who the line was about, it applies just as nicely to Davy Jones today as it did to Desi Arnaz Jr. in 1970. She might have meant it for someone else, but, leave it to Marcia Brady to perfectly capture the effect Davy Jones had on the world with a single, indelible line of dialog.

Rest in peace, Mr. Jones, you will be missed…

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Woody’s winning streak…

While several of the key categories are still up in the air, there is one sure bet at the Academy Awards this Sunday, and that is that Woody Allen — the most nominated writer in Oscar history with a whopping 15 writing nominations alone! — will collect his fourth career Oscar for writing Midnight in Paris. That’s right, amigos, the Woodman is back!

And if there was any doubt about it, I’d say Allen’s Best Original Screenplay win at Sunday night’s WGA Awards pretty much sealed the deal. Beating out such worth contenders as Diablo Cody’s wicked-good script for Young Adult and Tom McCarthy and Joe Tiboni’s amazing work on Win Win, Allen took home his fifth WGA Award for Midnight this past weekend.

As you know, I’m a HUGE Woody Allen fan, so, I’m very excited for him, even though Midnight was not my favorite of his movies (I voted for Young Adult), it was cute and fun and fluffy, but, at the end of the day, he’s done magical realism better in The Purple Rose of Cairo, Alice and even Broadway Danny Rose. That said, as a lifelong fan, it is really cool to see a Woody Allen movie nominated for writing, directing, and best picture again.

So, good on you, Woody. I look forward to seeing who picks up your Oscar for you this year! Kudos also to Alexander Payne and his co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Nash for winning the WGA’s Best Adapted Screenplay award for their stellar work on The Descendants. That one I did vote for!

To see a list of all this year’s WGA Award Winners, click here.

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Oscar Nominees 2012

Alright, I admit it, I’m too lazy to cut and paste the blog post I just wrote about this year’s Oscar Nominations on my other blog here. Sorry, I’m just too tired, and until WordPress re-instates the blog-sharing feature, I’m gonna have to just leave you with a link. So, if you wanna read what I think about this morning’s Oscar nominations (Yay, Gary Oldman! Boo, “The Ides of March” and “Margin Call”!) you’re gonna have to click here now.

See ya on the other side, amigos…

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Michael Bublé Christmas Special airs tonight!

OK, normally, I wouldn’t be gushing about anyone’s Christmas Special, since, as a general rule, they usually kinda suck. But, just listened to Michael Bublé’s new Christmas album all the way through for the first time and, well, it’s pretty awesome. Fun, light, swinging, at it’s best it sounds like you tossed Bing Crosby and Harry Connick Jr. in a blender…really great stuff.

So, imagine my surprise when I found out that Mr. Bublé’s Christmas Special is airing tonight on NBC! And cooler still is his stellar guest list: Justin Beiber, Kelli Pickler, Thalia, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Helms and Oscar the Grouch?! Wow, seriously, dude, you had me at Beiber. I’m so there.

And, hey, even if the Christmas Special sucks, trust me, the album really is good. So, make sure and check it out!

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park coming to L.A.!

Break out the Butterbeer, amigos! Word on Diagon Alley is that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is finally coming to Universal Studios, Hollywood! Hooray! Now we won’t have to fly all the way to Orlando to check out the awesomeness of the beautifully-designed theme park for ourselves. The park isn’t due to open till 2015 (at the earliest!) but that gives us plenty of time to get Greta up to speed on the books. So, coolness all around…

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Steve Jobs Stanford University Commencement Speech (2005)

If there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that Steve Jobs was one-of-a-kind iconic, this speech should put all that to rest. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Laura, for turning me on to this remarkably-power, deeply-moving commencement speech. Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs…

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Best & Worst of the New Fall Shows (2011)

Yeah, I know…I’ve been gone a long time. Sorry for that. Between working like mad on a new script (remember when I used to do that?) taking care of Greta and watching just about every new show out there, well, let’s just say it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Whew…

I’ll start with the worst of the new shows. And let me say from the get-go that I am only judging these shows by the pilots, you know, like the networks do. I’m sorry, but, if you can’t grab me from the first episode, I’m done with you. I mean, I wasted two seasons watching “Glee” and all it did was get worse and worse, so, sorry, new shows, I do not have time for lameness.

That said, I gotta tell ya, most of the shows I sampled weren’t that bad. I mean, even the one’s I’m not gonna watch for whatever reason were way better than some of the crap from season’s past, so, good on you, networks! OK, back to the worst of the bunch…

“The Secret Circle” (The CW) This show was just plain old boring, I’ve seen teen witches done better elsewhere, and aside from the presence of the always sexy Natasha Henstridge as the school principal with a secret, I could barely stay awake to the ending. Yawn…

“Free Agents” (NBC) I don’t even know why I watched this show to begin with. I absolutely loathe Hank Azaria and after watching the pilot, I like, double-triple loathe him. Yuck!

“2 Broke Chicks” (CBS) This show really bummed me out, man. I was so looking forward to it and really expecting a lot from the crackling-good cast, but, the writing was just not there to back them up. And on top of all that, the jokes were really gross. And not even clever gross, just gross and crass for crass-ness sake. Urgh…soooo disappointing!

“Whitney” (NBC) Same thing here. Gross humor, crude jokes, yawn. I will say that the lead actors grew on me as the half hour progressed, but, wow, that supporting cast felt like the table scraps from some long-forgotten 90′s sitcom: couple with pushy wife and mousy husband…check. Drunk and single best friend…check. Crazy, self-centered mom…double check. Oy…who needs it?

“The Playboy Club” (NBC) Dear NBC, just because you set a show in the 1960′s does not make it “Mad Men”. It’s not even that the show is that bad, it’s just kinda…eh. And when you think about how much dough NBC spent making and marketing it, “eh” is probably not the reaction they were going for. And for the love of God, please lose the Hugh Hefner voice overs…you weren’t changing the hearts and minds of America, Mr. Hefner, you were peddling smut. Classy, well-lit smut, but, smut nonetheless, so, please, get over yourself.

Now, before we get to the best new shows, I’d like to start with some honorable mention winners. You know, shows that I might watch if there was nothing on, but, not necessarily shows I’d add to my Tivo Season Pass anytime soon. Let’s call them the shows I’d watch if I had all the time in the world to watch TV…

“Pan Am” (ABC) Glossy, juicy, sexy, this show is really a lot of fun. The cast is great, the story possibilities are endless and those planes are so damn sexy, I mean, seriously, did ya see the couches in that French chick’s section? Amazing! I wanna live in that world, but, sadly, I just don’t have time to watch it.

“Charlie’s Angels” (ABC) Same thing here, the show is surprisingly good, with a totally game cast and a premise that, thirty some odd years on, still works. Hot chicks, guns, karate, pretty sunsets…it’s all there and it still works like gangbusters, but, I just don’t have the time. Sorry, Angels…

“The X-Factor” (FOX) OK, now this show was downright awesome! Fun, pithy, emotional…all the things that “American Idol” used to be. And best of all, Paula and Simon are back where they belong…together! The only problem is that it’s on every freaking night, and we are already committed to our returning favorite, “The Sing Off”, so, we might jump back into this one in a month or so, but, for now, it’s a pass.

“Up All Night” (NBC) We’re still kinda on the fence with this one too. Christine and I love all of the parenting stuff — I mean, whoa, some of the shit they joke about is like, ripped from our headlines! — but whenever they cut to Maya Rudolph (who I normally love!) the show goes all kinds of crazy…and not in a good way. We are regular viewers for the moment, but, one of two more wrong moves by Rudolph might just send us packing.

And now, for the best of the best, the shows that we will watch every week until they end, or, you know, get canceled before their prime like the late, great “Swingtown”. Anyway, they are…

“Prime Suspect” (NBC) Only “Whitney” has more billboards down here right now, so, I had a huge awareness of the show going into the season, but what I didn’t know was how totally fucking awesome it would be. Seriously, it’s like, pulse-pounding, truly groundbreaking-television. Fantastic acting, directing, writing, whew…mark my words, amigos, this is gonna be the show to beat at next year’s Emmys. AMAZING!

“New Girl” (FOX) OMG, I can’t tell you how pleased I was that this show didn’t totally suck. I’m not always a fan of Zooey Deschanel, but she lights up the screen with her goofy, sexy charm here. And her supporting cast is also totally awesome. Cute, funny, seriously-sweet…I kinda wanna marry this show.

“Revenge” (ABC) As dark and twisted and soapy-weird as “New Girl” is cute, this show puts the “j” in juicy, baby. And, man alive, is it good! I don’t know how they’re gonna stretch the premise over five years (or beyond), but if the acting, writing and totally cinematic sweep of the show is gonna be this good, well, sign me up! “Revenge” rocks!

So, that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks…what have you guys been watching?

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Video Mart, Grants Pass, OR

OK, since we’re on the subject of great, old-school video stores, I gotta tell ya about one more of them. Video Mart is located literally on the wrong side of the tracks in my wife’s hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon, but, don’t let that stop you, because this store seriously rocks!

Although it’s been in Grants Pass for years, I just discovered Video Mart this past July with my nephews. They were drawn in by the store’s amazing Sunday deal on video games — all games are a dollar and you get them for five days! — but what really thrilled me was the store’s vast selection of truly unique movies.

Sure, they have all the top-40 shit up front and yes, they rent Blu-Ray too, which is awesome, but, the thing that kept us coming back was their rocking selection of older titles. The pricing didn’t hurt either, every older title is available to rent for $1.00 for three nights. And if you rent more than five, you get to keep them for five glorious nights! Awesome!

Needless to say, I got myself a membership (yep, they let me get one even though I live out of state!) and we got down to some serious movie renting. All totaled, I think we rented somewhere between 10-15 movies during our visit and at least 4 video games. Best. Vacation. Ever!

And kudos to the fine folks at Video Mart for knowing their shit too. The dudes at Odd Obsession would probably still take the gold in a movie trivia head-to-head, but, trust me, there are some truly knowledgeable film and game geeks working here too.

So, next time you’re in Southern Oregon, grab yourself some Abby’s Legendary Pizza, a six pack of Weed Pale Ale, a movie from Video Mart, and call it a night…

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Odd Obsession Movie Rentals, Chicago

In case you hadn’t noticed, I started up another blog recently, but that doesn’t mean I love this one any less. On the contrary, I have been itching to share some of our recent adventures in Chicago (where we were in May) and Portland, OR (where we were in July) before launching into a whole other round of adventures we’re bound to experience in NYC, where we will be next week.

Trust me, it sounds a lot more glamorous than it really is. Hell, anyone who has traveled with a two-year-old can tell you that the going can get pretty damn rough sometimes. And that’s why you need the mellow, “let’s casually explore the city” kind of days in between the sightseeing.

It was on one of those days this past May, when we encountered the staggeringly-well-stocked, totally old-school video store known as Odd Obsession Movie Rentals in Chicago.

Located in the gritty heart of the suddenly-trendy Bucktown/Wicker Park area, Odd Obsession is the kind of classic, deep-catalog video store every great city should have. You know, the type of place you can call up with just a vague notion of the obscure DVD title you’re looking for, and not only do they know the movie, but they carry it too! So cool…

And I swear to God, walking inside that joint was like stepping into a time machine. They don’t carry many actual VHS titles anymore, but, the whole place smelled, looked like, and even felt like your favorite, musty childhood video store. I say felt because those shelves were so packed with super cool titles that you could hardly turn around without bumping into something amazing. Literally. Next time I go, I’m leaving the stroller outside.

We didn’t rent anything, of course, but, just being there and sensing the true love of movies inside every nook and cranny of that place really filled my heart with glee. I’m not kidding, it was like church for film geeks, and best of all, they even had a store cat. You know, the big old, fat kind that sits on the register when you’re trying to pay. I didn’t ask, but, I’ll bet he’s named “Rosebud”.

Anyway, someday very soon (like, next week) video stores will be a thing of the past, something we joke about: “OMG, remember when you used to have to leave your house to rent movies?” and when that day comes, I’ll be glad to know I visited one of the greatest video stores ever…and took lots of cool pictures.

Rock on, Odd Obsession Movie Rentals, rock on!

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Happy 70th, Krzysztof!

I know I’ve been away for a while and I’m sorry about that, but, I guess the allure of summer sunshine has been too impossible to resist this year.

I mean, summers and two-year-olds are kinda all about the outdoors and by the time I finally plop down in front of my computer, well, lets just say Daddy is too tired for much else than a quick rundown of the happenings on Facebook.

And speaking of FB, it was there just now that I was reminded by a good friend of mine that today would have been the 70th birthday of one on my all-time-favorite writer/directors, the great Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski. Not only did he make some of my favorite films, but his unique visual style and beautifully-interwoven storytelling techniques have informed everything I’ve written or wanted to write since I first saw his film “The Double Life of Veronique” way back in the early 1990′s.

Simply put, the man was a genius who died way before his time. Thankfully, Kieslowski completed at least two other masterworks before his death in 1996, the groundbreaking “Three Colors Trilogy: Blue, White, Red” and his indelible, early-career masterpiece, the ten-hour TV miniseries,“The Decalouge”.

If you haven’t seen any of his work yet, today is a great day to start. Celebrate the mad genius tonight by watching one (or if you have time, all) of his films…you will not be disappointed. Seriously, there was no one like him.

Happy birthday, Krzysztof, we miss you…

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Malick’s “The Tree of Life” takes the top prize @ Cannes

Despite being loudly booed at it’s first screening at Cannes, Terrence Malick’s controversial, love-it-or-hate-it, “The Tree of Life” took home the big prize at the Cannes Closing Ceremonies yesterday afternoon. Whoo-hoo! Go, Terry!

Of course, the famously-reclusive Malick was not there to collect his award (which was accepted in his absence by “Tree of Life’s” producers Dede Gardner and Bill Pohlad) but the fact that the movie won the top prize bodes well for it’s limited U.S. release this Friday.

I mean, man alive, if you thought I wanted to see “Life” before, just imagine how excited I am to see it now. Wow…I might start camping out for tickets tomorrow.

Another big American winner was Kirsten Dunst (yes, that Kirsten Dunst) who took home a Best Actress prize for her work in Lars Von Trier’s freaky-deaky-looking “Melancholia“. Trust me, if the movie is anywhere as dark and strange as Von Trier is, it’s gonna rock!

For a list of all this year’s big winners at Cannes, click here. And, until next year at this time…adieu, adieu, to you and you and you…

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David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee Commerical…

As you know, I’m still not a huge fan of his David Lynch Signature Cup coffee (organic-smorganic, give me my chemicals!) but, I’m still a mega-fan of Mr. David Lynch, the artist. So, when I heard that he’d directed a super-creepy 4 minute online ad for his coffee, co-starring Barbie? Well, how could I not share that shit with you?

The ad runs a bit long and like I said, is a tad disturbing — a couple times it looks like Barbie’s pretty little head is gonna pop right off in Mr. Lynch’s hand, yikes! — it is also really darkly hilarious as well, so, enjoy!

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Happy last Saturday…

I’m pretty sure we’ll all still be here on Sunday, but, just in case, wanted to make sure I got in more short blog post. Oddly enough, as much as I love this song, I don’t think I’d ever actually seen the video before, and lemme tell ya, it’s pretty lame, even by early-80′s bad video standards.

But, Debbie Harry’s “Cousin Thinny” looks rad, and, come on, who can resist her trail-blazing white girl rap?! Seriously, that shit floored me as a kid. I remember getting chills the first time I hear that insanity…so cool!

Anyway, happy “Rapture” day, amigos. Hope to see you on the other side…or, you know, Sunday. Whichever comes first…

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Trailer Thursday: “The Tree of Life”

Alright, I know I’m already breaking my rule about blogging too much about Cannes, but, when I saw the first trailer for Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life”, I knew I had to share it here as well.

I’m not entirely sure what the plot is here — it looks a little “2001″-ish to me, which would be awesome! — but Malick’s visuals, as always, look pretty damn spectacular. And what a cast! People who have seen previews of the movie are already saying Brad Pitt is a lock for a Best Actor Oscar. Whoa…

Either way, dying to hear what the Frenchie’s think of the movie when it premieres at Cannes on Monday. Go, team Malick!

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“Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” starts tomorrow on ABC

OK, I know it’s a whole day away, but, we are so excited about the season two premiere of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” tomorrow night on ABC that we just had to blog about it today…er, well…tonight. In any case, now you have a full day’s notice to set your Tivo’s!

And, trust me, you’re gonna wanna them set for this. Because, from the trailers we’ve seen, Tivo-worthy is the name of the game this season on “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”. I mean, seriously, if you thought those mean old lunch ladies in West Virginia were hard core, just wait till you see Jamie facing off with the shriveled old coots on the L.A. Unified Board of Education. Yikes!

Yep, you read that correctly, this season’s “Food Revolution” is set right here in sunny SoCal, or at least it was until Jamie and company had their permits pulled mid-shoot. The Board also banned “Food Revolution” camera crews from shooting at all public school campuses in Los Angeles to boot! See, I told you this season would be juicy!

So, set your Tivo’s, whip up a healthy snack and tuck on in, because “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” is taking flight tomorrow on ABC!

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Radiohead’s “The King of Limbs” is available now!

Like all good Radiohead fanatics, Christine and I downloaded the band’s latest release “The King of Limbs” when it became available as a digital download back on February 19th. But for those of you who decided to hold out for a hard copy, well, the wait is finally over!

That’s right, amigos, as the super cool Radiohead.com flyer above reads: “The King of Limbs” is available now on CD at “all good record stores”. And though it’s a bit more mellow than the band’s last release, “Limbs” totally grows on you over time, and has at least three songs that are soon-to-be Radiohead classics. So, get thee to a “good record store” already!

And in the meantime, please enjoy this video for the song “Lotus Flower”. This is one of my favorite new songs on the album and though the video is very stripped-down and totally minimalistic, if you dig Thom Yorke doing a crazy, skinny-man dance for almost five minutes, you’ll love it!

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Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

I know there’s already tons of coverage out there today about the legendary life and loves of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, so, I’ll try and keep it brief and post some of my favorite pics of Taylor over the years instead.

I didn’t love all of her movies — I mean, seriously, have you ever tried sitting through “Cleopatra”? And don’t even get me started on “Giant” — but she is one of the rare stars who could make even a bad movie totally watchable. And when Taylor had great material to work with, man alive, she set that screen on fire!

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, “Suddenly Last Summer”, “A Place in the Sun”, “National Velvet”, hell, she made awesome movies in just above every era she lived. And though Taylor stands right up there with the acting great, I have always been a bigger fan of the balls-out way she lived her life rather than her filmic output.

Taylor was famous for most of her life and though that might make some people weird or camera shy, she was anything but. Taylor was funny, candid, and shockingly foul-mouthed…in a word, she was a first class dame. And I ain’t talking about the royal kind.

In my mind, Taylor was a broad in the best sense of the word. She could eat and drink and brawl with the best of them and for that, I salute her.

Hollywood is a freaky place and it changes most people for the worst, but, Taylor always kept it real and remained true to who she was — a totally-hilarious, brassy, old broad — till the very end. So, rock on, Miss Taylor, your humor, humanitarianism and total zest for life will be greatly missed…

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Production begins on “The Hobbit”

I know it seemed like this day would never come, but, I’m very pleased to announce that after years of delays and behind-the-scenes drama, production on Peter Jackson’s two-part “Lord of the Rings” prequel, “The Hobbit”, finally began today at Jackson’s Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand. Hooray!

Even more awesome than this news are the super cool on-set pics Jackson posted on his Facebook page today. Whoo-hoo! Don’t you just wanna live in that sweet little hobbit house? And could that gorgeous, sun-dappled Shire look any more lush and inviting? Wow…

I know they just started shooting, but, I’m ready to throw on my hobbit cape and get in line for tickets, like, today. Bring it on, Mr. Jackson!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Timbuk2!

Plopped my corned beef in the crock pot (un-preheated, of course, so as not to repeat last year’s debacle!) cranked up my new St. Patrick’s Day playlist on the iPod and then found this rocking little clip from Timbuk2 in my inbox.

For those unfamiliar with them, Tumbuk2 started selling kick-ass, handcrafted bicycle messenger bags in the bay area in 1989 and since then have expanded their line to include backpacks, duffle bags, wallets, and even luggage. In fact, I use one their laptop bags as a diaper bag and it’s way roomier and easier to clean than most real diaper bags.

Simply put, Timbuk2 rocks. I mean, hell how can you not love a company that would send out a hilariously-festive St. Paddy’s Day video like this and offer a one-day 15% discount to boot? So cool! Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

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Worst Oscar Telecast ever!

How boring was last night’s Oscar telecast? So boring that I couldn’t even stay awake to blog about it afterwards…and, trust me, I stay up late up all the time, so, that is really saying something.

Long, strangely-paced, badly-produced, hosted and directed, I gotta tell ya, last night’s show was probably the worst Oscar telecast of my adult life. And, yes, I’m including the David Letterman and Rob Lowe/Snow White fiascos.

The thing that really kills me is that I was so excited about the hosts this year. I love Anne Hathaway to death and James Franco is great in everything I’ve ever seen him in…but, together, wow, they were like, epically bad.

I know most of the blame falls at the feet of the lame-brained writers and producers — did we really need those hideous “Gone With The Wind” and “Titanic” graphics projected in the background? And don’t even get me started about that freaky Bob Hope hologram…yikes! — but Hathaway and Franco were so boring that you could practically hear viewers switching the channel. Urgh…

To her credit, Hathaway at least tried to keep things lively, but the dead-eyed Franco looked like he needed a nap most of the night. Watching Hathaway desperately flit around the stage last night while Franco half-napped at the podium reminded me of those old elementary school group projects where one person on the team always worked harder than the other. As a team, they failed, but, I think I’d give Annie an “A” for effort!

Not helping the overall yawn-factor last night was the fact that almost everyone who was predicted to win, did. Which is cool for the very-deserving winners (way to go, Queen Amidala!) but makes for really boring television. Thankfully, “Inception” cleaned up in the technical categories…so, that was fun to watch, even if Christopher Nolan was denied his Oscar (again!).

Dying to hear what you guys thought of the show, and if you have any suggestions for better hosts for next year — hell, that Bob Hope hologram would be better than Hathaway and Franco! — I’d love to hear them too…so, fire away!

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Elementary, my dear Watson…

OK, I know it happened last week, but, my mind is still reeling from watching a freaking supercomputer named Watson beat the pants of the two biggest winners in “Jeopardy” history. I mean, think about it, a gigantic computer with no internet access faced off with two really smart humans on a game show and won. Wow, my brain is still scrambling to make sense of it all…

I know it sounds lame, but, I just kept thinking: this is the future, we are literally watching the future unfold on our TV sets. It wasn’t always perfect (wasn’t it weird how jokey wording or kinda non-specific, broader answers tripped Watson up? Fascinating!) but, for three amazing nights last week, we lived in the future and it was thrilling!

I for one, say, long live, Watson! And as  the soundly-defeated Ken Jennings joked in his final answer, I too wholehearted embrace our new “computer overlords”. Bring on the war with the machines, baby!

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Oscar Nominee Luncheon (2011)

OK, I’ll totally admit it…aside from actually attending the Cannes Film Festival, one of my dreams is to attend the Academy’s annual Oscar Nominee Luncheon. And, I ain’t picky, I don’t need to attend as a nominee. No way. Hell..I’d wait tables or, you know, make lattes for them if it got me in the door!

I mean…check out these pics and tell me this does not look like the coolest event of the entire award season. No pressure to win, no live-television audience, just all the free food, drink and movie star snapshots you can stomach. So awesome!

Oooo, hey, come to think of it, I made scads of lattes for Ms. Bening when I worked at Peet’s, so, who knows…maybe she’ll give me a recommendation for next year. Either way, sign me up!

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Best Super Bowl Ad (2011)

Wow, and I thought last year’s crop of Super Bowl Ads was lacking…yikes! It was like the companies all got together and decided to have a contest to see who could spend the most on crazy, over-produced digital effects while trying to cram every idea they ever had into a thirty-second spot. Madness! I am not an old man, but if I was, I swear to God, the overall rapid-fire-ness of some of those ads would make my head explode. Too much!

Also, just because you can afford to dump a load of money into manufacturing cheesy, Coke-shilling Euro-dragons doesn’t mean you should. That shit was straight-up loony toons, and on top of that, it was ugly as sin. Blech! I don’t know who art directed some of these spots, but, wow, simplicity went out the window with brevity, big time!

In fact, too much of everything seemed to be the keyword yesterday. It’s like everyone forgot how powerful and moving a short, sweet and simple ad can be. You don’t need a bunch of stupid stunts or tired old people jokes to make a great ad, hell, if your ad is smart enough, sometimes, you don’t even need words.

That said, I give you our favorite 2011 Super Bowl ad: the truly-inspired Darth Vader spot for VW. Clean, simple, an instant classic, this ad is one for the ages, amigos. So, enjoy…and, until next year, may the Force be with you…

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