Tag Archives: summer movies

Fake Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear commerical

OK, so, I’m sitting at my laptop nerding out on Facebook before bed tonight and I happen to see this very strange, totally retro commercial for something called a Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear. The first time the ad aired, I was like, weird, why are they playing that grainy ass-commercial on NBC? Then, fifteen minutes later, it played again and fifteen minutes after that, it played again!

At that point, I got kinda spooked (did I mention it was late at night?) and decided to Google this crazy toy I had never heard of…and guess what? The reason I have never heard of this cuddly little ’80’s icon is because he is actually a fictional toy/character in the upcoming Pixar release “Toy Story 3″! That’s right, amigos, Disney/Pixar has gone viral. Coolness!

And what a viral ad it is! The grainy VCR-era static, the costumes, hell, even the actors, I was convinced that this was some long-forgotton toy that I had never heard of. Seriously, the toy-collecting geek in me was all outraged that I never owned something as awesome as a freaking Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear, with strawberry scent no less! Crazy, I know, but it looked that real.

So, kudos to the rocking team at Pixar for crafting such a hilariously-real ad campaign for a fake toy from the ’80’s, and if you like the American commercial, check out the equally-realistic Japanese one below. So cool! I can’t wait to see what role the little ball of cuteness plays in the new movie…even he does turn out to be the villain!

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Simon Baker is “Not Forgotten” by Emmy voters!

I know, I know…more shameless self-promotion. But, hey, having the lead actor from your first movie nab an Best Actor Emmy nomination never hurt anyone, and if Simon Baker’s nomination for “The Mentalist” gets even one more person to buy a “Not Forgotten” DVD when it comes out on October 6th, well, then, thank you very much, Emmy voters!

Simon Baker in NOT FORGOTTEN

The rest of the nominees — with the exception of the animated “Family Guy” scoring a rare nod in the Best Comedy Series category — were pretty much business as usual. I swear to God, if I hear some of those same old names announced again I think I might just stop watching TV altogether. Yikes…

That said, I was glad to see the very deserving “Big Love” finally score a Drama Series nod, and it was cool to see “Flight of the Conchords” nominations all over the place, who woulda guessed that one? And even though we stopped watching “Breaking Bad” out of solidarity with a friend of ours last season, it was very cool to see the show in the top slot for the first time and even cooler to see Aaron Paul score a nomination for Supporting Actor, Drama. Rock on, Mr. Paul!

We have not seen “Grey Gardens” yet, but, I hear it’s very good and was happy for Drew Barrymore and the rest of the cast for their scads of nominations as well. Oh, and speaking of TV movies, Sigourney Weaver rocked in Lifetime’s “Prayers For Bobby”, so was very pleased to see both her and the film score nominations.

Drew Barrymore in GREY GARDENS

Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange in GREY GARDENS

Was mostly pleased with the writing nods as well, especially the nomination for “Lost” scribes Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for their amazing work on the season finale, “The Incident”. And am always happy to see Michael Emerson nominated for playing creepy-ass Ben, but was very disappointed that more of his “Lost” castmates didn’t make the cut. I mean, hello, Elizabeth Mitchell’s “death” scene in “The Incident” episode was some of the finest acting the show has ever seen…seriously, blondie got robbed!

And though I was sad to see “The American Mall” shut out of the Original Music and Lyrics nominations in favor of two songs from award shows (!) I gotta say, the hilarious “Motherlover” song from “SNL” is sure to take home the gold. That shit was hilarious!

And finally, we were very sad to see “ER” almost totally shut out in it’s last season, County General deserved better, yo. And though Christine and I were both seriously bummed that the totally cinematic “Southland” failed to score a single nod for it’s very deserving writers and cast, we’ll take comfort in the Best Actress nomination for Christina Applegate for “Samantha Who?”.

Michael Emerson on LOST

Elizabeth Mitchell on LOST

I know it’s canceled (stupid ABC!) but “Samantha” was one of our favorite shows of late…fantastic writing, hilarious cast, and very sweet to boot! If you haven’t seen this show, you must run out to rent the DVD’s when they come out. Seriously, you will never stop smiling.

Love to hear what shows you guys are rooting for, so, check out the complete list of Emmy nominees here and comment away! Oh yeah, and just for the record, the Chenbot was cruelly snubbed again for Best Reality Show host! Crazy, huh? But Padma Lakshmi did score a nod in the same category for “Top Chef”, so that definitely lessened the blow…

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“Not Forgotten” at the Beverly Center 13

No word yet on future distribution plans, but according to our friends at Boxofficemojo.com, “Not Forgotten” is still pulling in some pretty decent bank. Last time I checked (and I check almost hourly) the per screen average for the movie on only four screens was almost $3,000.00. Not bad for a little movie with almost no marketing, huh?

NOT FORGOTTEN at Beverly Center #1

NOT FORGOTTEN at Beverly Center #2

Even cooler than the numbers the movie has been pulling in have been the audiences themselves. I went to see “Not Forgotten” this past weekend at the Beverly Center 13 with my stepmom Wendy, my sister Courtney and our longtime family friends, Jan, Les and Brooke Wright and the crowd in our theatre seemed to really dig the movie.

Of course, it was a small theatre and we were kinda taking up half the seats in the joint, but still, the rest of the folks in that theatre were very much along for the ride. In fact, a woman and a man who were watching the movie with their elderly mother actually stopped me on my way out to ask me a few questions.

I’m guessing they knew I had something to do with the movie since our whole row cheered every time my name came up in the credits, but either way, once they heard that I had co-written the movie, they were on me like eager fanboys on J.J. Abrams at ComicCon.

NOT FORGOTTEN at Beverly Center #6

NOT FORGOTTEN at Beverly Center #3

NOT FORGOTTEN at Beverly Center #4

Seriously, they were so excited to meet me and have me answer their questions (in person!) that I kept joking with Les that he must have paid them beforehand to make me feel good or something. It was kinda crazy, but totally fun and they were really, really impressed with the movie, so…how could I not enjoy my first real encounter with my “fans”? Ha!

Anyway, I’ll post more details on where “Not Forgotten” will land next when I get them and in the meantime, enjoy the pics from weekend number two in LA.!

NOT FORGOTTEN at Beverly Center #7

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“Not Forgotten” night at the Mann’s Chinese!

Friday night was the Hollywood premiere of my new movie “Not Forgotten” at the Mann’s Chinese and let me tell ya, it rocked! We had an awesome audience, great food and drinks at the after party at The Grill, and best of all, the movie played to packed houses all weekend long. Yay!

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #1

No official word on what that means for future distribution plans, but according to the fine folks at BoxOfficeMojo.com, “Not Forgotten” did manage to beat the pants off heavy-hitters like “17 Again”, “Hannah Montana” and even “Wolverine” (again!) on a per screen average, so, I’d say we kicked ass!

Also, I just found out that we will be moving to the Mann Beverly Center 13 on Friday, so, if you missed us last week at the Chinese, check us out this weekend at the Beverly Center by clicking here.

In the meantime, back to the premiere! After mingling with the cast and crew in the lobby, I walked the press line outside the theatre for a few pics and then Christine and I headed upstairs to our sweet-ass leather seats in the VIP section. Yep, I said leather seats, amigos. Honestly, I didn’t even know the Mann’s had a VIP section, but it was awesome.

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #2

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #3

The funniest thing was that Christine and I — who have both seen the movie a gazillion times — were completely freaked out by the kidnapping stuff this time around. I know it sounds crazy, but we both kept looking at each other like: “Should we call home just to make sure Greta wasn’t taken by Santa Muerte?” Wow, I guess that’s what being a parent is all about, huh? Weird…

Without giving too much away, all I can say is that if any of that spooky shit ever happens to my daughter…I might just go “mental” too. Yikes!

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #4

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #5

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #6

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #7

Immediately following the screening there was a super cool party just around the corner at the swanky Hollywood Grill. In keeping with the Tex-Mex setting of the movie, the food was all Mexican — right down to the never-ending bottles of Corona with lime! — and though the chicken tostadas were kinda weird, the carne asada was out-of-this-world fantastic. My brother, Ryan, and I went back for that like, three times. Awesome!

Of course, the company was even better. Although neither Simon Baker or Paz Vega could make the premiere — she’s eight-and-a-half months pregnant and lives in Spain, and Simon is supposedly filming a movie in Australia, although he appeared on both “Regis & Kelly” and “Jimmy Fallon” on Monday night, so, who knows? — the rest of mi buen amigos from the supporting cast were there in spades and we had a blast.

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #8

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #9

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #10

And though there were several cool celebrity sightings — Marion Ross from “Happy Days” came with her son, Jim Meskimen, who is the nicest guy in the world, even if he plays a child molester in our movie! — my favorite had to be Oscar-nominee and 70’s icon, Karen Black.

Miss Black was supposed to appear in an AFI student film of mine, “The Lone Star Letters”, way back in the day and I had always wanted to meet her in person. So, when I saw her noshing on tacos near the bar, I stumbled over. Being the geek that I am, I started with: “Are you Karen Black?” Lame…I know, but I was completely starstruck.

She was beyond cool and of course had no memory of my nerdy student film or why she couldn’t appear in it, but really, who cared at that point…I mean, I was talking about my movie with Karen-freaking-Black, how cool and totally Hollywood is that? Crazy!

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #11

NOT FORGOTTEN premiere night #12

Anyway, we all stayed way too late and drank and ate way too much, but, wow, what a party! Thanks to everyone who came to the premiere to party down with us and most of all to those of you who went out and actually paid to see “Not Forgotten” on it’s opening weekend in Los Angeles. My Aunt Linda and Uncle George actually drove down from the Fresno area to see the movie on Sunday afternoon. Wow!

So, thanks again for all the “Not Forgotten” love, amigos. You guys rock!!

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Daily Texan review of “Not Forgotten”

With “Not Forgotten” set to open in Austin, Texas on Friday, we were all very excited to see the first local review of the movie appear the other day in The University of Texas’ Daily Texan. We were even more excited to see that they loved the movie…so, yay!

Behind-the-scenes on NOT FORGOTTEN #1

I won’t reprint the entire review here, but the highlights are pretty cool:

“NOT FORGOTTEN is not a typical crime thriller. Plunging into the mysteries of the occult on the Texas-Mexico border, it pulls the audience into a world of seedy streets, whorehouses and death-worshipping rituals. [Simon] Baker carries the film with his portrayal of a man leading a troubled double life. With the kind of story that keeps you constantly guessing, NOT FORGOTTEN is a truly unconventional revenge tale and the movie is worth watching for the ending and lead-up alone.”

Awesome! To read Priscilla Totiyapungprasert’s review in its entirety, click here. And in the meantime, enjoy some of my favorite behind-the-scenes pics of the “seedy streets and whorehouses” of “Not Forgotten”.

Behind-the-scenes on NOT FORGOTTEN #2

Behind-the-scenes on NOT FORGOTTEN #5

Behind-the-scenes on NOT FORGOTTEN #3

Behind-the-scenes on NOT FORGOTTEN #4

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“Batman” for Best Picture?

Don’t laugh, amigos…if there was ever a year a comic book movie could (and should) be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, this was it! And seeing how “The Dark Knight” just scored a Producer’s Guild of America nomination for Best Picture of 2008 — always a good omen going into Oscar season — the odds just got a little bit better for Bruce Wayne and company.

"The Dark Knight" poster

That’s right, despite a surprising snub by the Hollywood Foreign Press a couple of weeks back, “The Dark Knight” just became a front-runner in the very heated contest for an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The late, great Heath Ledger was already kind of a given for a Supporting Actor nomination, but a big summer movie scoring a nod in a major category is pretty, well…major.

So, kudos to Christopher Nolan and the rest of the “Dark Knight” cast and crew for making things very interesting this award season. And in case you were wondering, the other films the PGA nominated for Best Picture were the very deserving: “Milk”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Frost/Nixon”, and for some reason, the God-awful “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.

Yikes…I still don’t get why people love that movie so much. But Christine has already forseen “Button” picking up a Best Picture nomination from the Academy and she is rarely wrong about these things, so…who knows.

“Button” aside though, I am thrilled with the rest of the nominations — which represent almost all of our favorite movies this past year — and the TV and Documentary Feature nominations are just as worthy. To see a full list of the PGA nominees in every category, click here.

And as we near the award season home stretch…go, “Batman”!

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“The House Bunny”

I know there might be some haters out there who think this movie looks kinda lame, but let me tell ya, “The House Bunny” is one of the funniest, sweetest comedies I’ve seen in years. A candy-colored gem of a movie headlined by Anna Faris in a truly star-making role, “Bunny” is so funny that you actually miss some of the dialog from laughing so hard. Really!

And with a script this witty and fun, you don’t want to miss a word. I kid you not, amigos, you will be howling with laughter at some of this stuff.

And though some critics have slammed it as a female “Revenge of the Nerds”, as a serious fan of good college comedies, I actually think that is a huge compliment. For like “Nerds”, there is a sweetness beneath the laughs here that really elevates the material way beyond the typical frat/sorority house comedy.

Written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith — the team that brought us “Legally Blonde” and the vastly underrated “10 Things I Hate About You” — and produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison shingle, the movie is such giddy fun that the minute it ended, we wanted to see it again.

Seriously, I haven’t felt that way about a mainstream Hollywood comedy since “Knocked Up”. And though I waited a few days to buy that when it came out, I promise you, I will be first in line at Target when “Bunny” hits DVD!

Channeling Marilyn Monroe at the peak of her comedic skills, Anna Faris is not only hysterical, but also, like Marilyn in her best roles, almost heartbreakingly sweet. Playing a former Playmate tossed out of the Playboy Mansion on the day after her 27th birthday, Faris finds new meaning and her true calling by helping a group of misfit girls save their crumbling sorority house.

I know that sounds like a pretty basic premise, but, trust me, “Bunny” — mostly due to Faris’ sparkling presence — is anything but ordinary. And though she has lit up the screen with some kick-ass comedic performances in the past, this is the kind of role that will make Anna Faris a household name.

And with Reese Witherspoon long having moved on to boring, more so-called “serious” fare, the possibilities for our girl Faris are endless! So, go, Anna!

Of course, as fantastic as Faris is, the movie wouldn’t be complete without the amazing supporting cast, all of whom shine here. Colin Hanks, Christopher McDonald and Beverly D’Angelo (as the aptly named Ms. Hagstrom) all seriously rock, but the sorority girls at the loser house that Faris champions are incredible.

I had never seen Emma Stone and Kat Dennings in a movie before, but they are both spectacular. And I think the biggest surprise for me wasn’t that Rumer Willis can act — because she really can, and she is hilarious! — but that “American Idol” finalist Katherine McPhee can too.

Playing the pregnant sorority girl constantly eating from a jar of peanut butter, McPhee is a natural comedienne. The scene of her squeegeeing her pregnant belly at the car wash is already a classic, and watching her sing a horribly off-key karaoke version of “Like A Virgin” in a bar will have any longtime “Idol” fan rolling on the floor with laughter.

I should also let you know, that I absolutely loathed McPhee on “Idol” and was prepared to do the same here, but she won me over in a big way. I guess you could say that I finally caught the McPheever! Go, Katherine!

Oh, and speaking of singers…Tyson Ritter, lead singer of one of my favorite guilt-pleasure bands, The All-American Rejects, was also surprisingly good. Anyone who has ever seen one of their music videos knows that this dude has charisma, but the fact that he can back up that charm with some pretty decent acting chops is a pleasant surprise. And the goofy chemistry he shares with Stone in their scenes together is perfect. Really fun stuff!

So, if you’re looking for some sweet, frothy Hollywood comedy done right, check out “The House Bunny”. Who knows, if you see the movie in Burbank, we just might be sitting next to you…yep, it’s that good.

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