Category: movies

So I log on to make a new post and WordPress looks absolutely nothing like it did a few days ago. What the???

Well anyway… back to what I was going to post about…

Yesterday I closed my account with BB&T. They didn’t even ask why I was closing my account. You could tell they just didn’t give a shit. I guess after the whole “occupy” thing and everyone switching to credit unions they’re just so used to it. But switching to a credit union is definitely the way to go, in the event someone reading this was contemplating.

After my bank fun and a little shopping I picked Katie up from work. Her ex sent her a “moneygram” and we ended up going to several places hoping in vain someone would cash it. We didn’t have any success, but she was able to cash a refund check from the electric company and she insisted on paying for dinner. I wouldn’t have any of that, but I did cave and let her pay for the movie tickets…

We went to see Frankenweenie at the Brew-n-view. It was pretty good overall, if not earth-shattering. While it was clearly aimed at children, it never came off as cheesy or pandering, and there were plenty of jokes adults would love. There were a lot of neat homages to classic black-and-white horror movies, but it mostly avoided the popular trend of inserting a million pop culture references to make you laugh. The bottom line is that if you’re a Tim Burton fan you’ll like it. It wasn’t my favorite of his movies, and after a while the 3-D glasses were giving me a headache, but it was definitely an enjoyable movie experience.

That’s about all for now. I’ll probably play around with this weird new setup and hopefully get around to posting my long-delayed best-of-2012 list. I have a few more albums to listen to before I set anything in stone, but it’s almost finished. Until then…..


A Week of Blahs

It’s been quite some time since I wrote anything in here. I’m currently in the last throes (I hope) of a really annoying sinus infection, most likely triggered by the 30+ degree temperature swings we’ve had in the past few days. Seriously Mother Nature, 67 in the afternoon and 29 at night is NOT COOL.

I can briefly (for me anyway) retrace the major events of the past week. On Saturday I went to the Mountain Xpress Bash with Sarah. It was pretty cool overall. The food at the taco stand in the Grey Eagle is amazing, I’d go there on a non-show day just for some cheap grub. The Secret B-Sides played and were great as usual. There was a drag show and a comedian and a “Bathrooms of Asheville” trivia contest, all of which were fun. The final act was a rap group; neither of us are big rap fans and she was getting tired so we left. All in all, not much to complain about.

Sunday after work I hung out with the other Sarah, my friend who will shortly be leaving for South Korea. We ate at this Thai/sushi place in Hendersonville and then I helped her get a little packing done. She sold me her old laptop for $10, which I will use to better familiarize myself with Linux and to play streaming movies on my TV. She also gave me her dresser, which my neighbors had wanted. When I got home I helped them get it inside and then made a quick run to the store and went to bed.

Monday I saw what I thought was great news on my Facebook feed. Sarah posted something about “finding a keeper.” I texted her asking what that was about, expecting her to play it off and digitally whisper sweet nothings into the phone keypad. But as it turns out, she was referring to someone else. Again we have the complete lack of communication that has plagued me for years. If you’re seeing multiple people, and you think one of them could possibly turn into something more serious, you should tell the others. Don’t just go along with their flirtations and act as though things are great and then let them discover a bombshell on their news feed. Be open, be blunt, speak up and make things easier on all of us! I don’t know how I always wind up in the exact same situation, but it’s really getting old.

The rest of my week was rather uneventful, aside from doing a lot of painting and getting really sick on Thanksgiving. I had a nice dinner of Tofurky, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole, but what I really needed was some TheraFlu. The past few days I’ve been getting slowly better, so hopefully this is the end of it. I would like to make a full recovery soon so I can see some of my friends whom I haven’t seen in forever and would like to not infect.

Today on my lunch break I stopped by the video store downtown that is closing and picked up a few movies. I just watched Your Highness, not really knowing what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it was stupid. But in a good way. My roommate just got home from ten days in Puerto Rico. As soon as four hours has finally passed I’m going to have another dose of TheraFlu and pass the fuck out in preparation for my next-to-last weekend as a CitiStop employee. And that’s really about all that’s going on. The End.


Lately I’ve just been too busy to write anything in this damn blog. Oh well.

The early part of my week was spent watching and reading about the debates – first the Jon Stewart vs. Bill O’Reilly “Rumble 2012,” then the vice presidential debate. I’m not sure which one was more entertaining. Also, this is now a thing: when someone is lying through their teeth and you punk them down, you “Biden” them. Fun times.

I had Tuesday and Wednesday off for a change, but my sinuses were killing me and my friends were busy, so I didn’t take advantage of having consecutive off-days. I started on a new painting, which is coming along rather well. Between work, reading for my classes, and this new piece, I’ve pretty much had no free time.

Last night I after work I went to my former coworker’s art opening, then came home and cooked dinner. I was so exhausted I fell asleep doing my reading. I woke up an hour later, my body aching, determined to finish the lesson and do a few other productive things. I forced myself to stay up an hour later than I normally would have so I could accomplish these things, and then wound up oversleeping this morning and having to take the bus to work instead of walking.

Today at work, my dream girl from a few posts previous came in again. Once again we got into a long conversation, only ended by her having to leave. To my surprise, she had in fact gone to my website and looked at my artwork. Based on my little bio page, her and her roommate tried to guess my age, and her roommate got it right. She’s only 19, so she then launched into a discourse about how she always seems to attract older guys, and how even when they’re older, they’re still too immature for her. She said that her boyfriend (also named Chris) was only two years older, but that it was old enough to count, because he would be graduating next year and she’d still be in school. She then said something like, “not that I expect it to last that long.” I told her that in the event it didn’t last, and she needed another Chris to step in and fill the void, I would proudly offer my services. She giggled and told me that was really sweet. We chatted some more, and I said that even though she never has free time and has a boyfriend, it would be cool to hang out sometime. She sounded a bit startled and said, “well I am allowed to have friends.” She then asked for my number and sent me a text message so I’d have hers. I’m not really sure how to ask her out without it sounding like I’m asking her to cheat on her boyfriend. Since she’s only 19 I can’t just say “let’s grab a drink sometime,” and I can’t invite her to the Tav Falco show I hope to go to next week. I don’t know of any events going on in the near future, and asking her to dinner or a movie sounds too much like a date, and I don’t want to be the cause of any drama. I’m sure I’ll think of something, and hopefully see her again soon. And hopefully I won’t be bright red in the face like I was for the latter half of our conversation today. But hey, your dream girl gives you her number and talks about her current relationship probably not lasting, and you tend to blush a little here and there. It happens.

So anyway, after work I stopped at Downtown Books and News and found a few interesting things in their free bin – a paperback of The Taming Of The Shrew, some old postcards, a CD from Uncut Magazine featuring bands inspired by The Byrds, and a DVD from some music magazine full of synth and drum samples. Not a bad haul, considering the price. I came home and chatted with my neighbor, who was sitting on her front porch. Then I cooked dinner and watched Woody Allen’s Bananas, which might be my new favorite of his movies. It was like a Marx Brothers political farce set in a small South American nation. But more Jewish. Easily the most laughs per minute of any of his movies that I’ve seen. Then I got a cleaning bug up my butt and gave the bathroom a good deep cleansing. Now I think I’ll read another chapter in my studies and try to get to bed at a decent hour for once. The End.


We used to have a regular customer at the gas station who was an artist. He moved to the other side of town and we didn’t see him for a while. Then today (or yesterday, it’s after 3:00 AM as I’m writing this) he came in and said that he had a bunch of supplies and wanted to see if I was interested. I told him I was broke, and then he said he meant he was giving them to me. Evidently his mom took some art classes and then stopped, and now he has all this stuff. So he brought it by and my coworker and I divided it up. I snagged a canvas, a huge drawing board, a watercolor pad, a ton of pencils, an eraser, and some Sharpies. Not bad for free.

Hopefully my car will be finished tomorrow (today?). I called off at work, and I’ll take the bus to go get my car. Hopefully it will be ready fairly early in the day so I can try to get some stuff accomplished. In the next two days I need to get my pills from Target, bring some stuff back to the library, do some grocery shopping, pick up my stuff from the frame shop, and do my laundry. Add to that working on next month’s newsletter for the art supply store, finishing up a commissioned piece, and finishing up a few more pieces for my show. I can’t really imagine doing all of that on Tuesday, so having my car at a decent time on Monday will be a huge help.

My roommate picked me up from work tonight and mentioned that she was going with a friend to see The Hunger Games and invited me to tag along. As someone who hasn’t read the books, I’m really not sure what to make of the movie. I’m still processing stuff, and I’m way too tired to write a full review, but a few random thoughts…

  • The movie gives almost no back story, and as a result a lot of things don’t make sense. I understand it’s based on a book, and it’s part of a trilogy, but I shouldn’t have to read the books and stick around for the second and third movie for things to come together. If the movie can’t stand on its own then we have some problems here.
  • There was almost no character development, and the non-essential characters were reduced to sketches and clichés. I understand this is mostly the result of cramming a novel into the time frame of a movie, but that reverts back to my first point.
  • While I think it succeeds as an action/fantasy story, it mostly fails as a dystopian scenario. There’s no consistency regarding how much disbelief one has to suspend for the story to work. Some things are very believable, whereas others are not at all. For a dystopian future world to be convincing, minute details need to work. The story as a whole works, but there were too many things that didn’t, which made it hard to go along with.
  • I totally don’t understand the style of dress and homes in District 12. I understand these people are poor, but they don’t dress poor. They dress like they’re from another era. It would make more sense to show them in simplistic versions of the dress of the day. Instead we have this world of gaudy costumes, and this pocket of poor people who dress like mountain folk circa the 1920’s. It’s as if the filmmakers were trying too hard to show that they filmed this in rural Appalachia, or to show that these people were poor, or whatever. But it ended up coming out of nowhere and seeming like a different universe. Without a detailed back story this makes no sense and comes off more as a not-so-sly nod to viewers in the mountains – “hey these are your people!”
  • There’s also no back story regarding the names. Why do some people have very odd names, while others are more normal? Again it’s all about consistency, and this story has very little, at least when it comes to finer details.
  • Possibly my biggest complaint – the camera work was HORRIBLE. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen worse work in a major motion picture. I get it when they’re in the woods, running and chasing and fighting. They want you to feel like you’re right there in the action. That doesn’t mean it’s effective, but I do get what they were going after. But in a scene that is a simple interior shot? Why do we need a shaky cam for that? And what’s with all of the out-of-focus scenes? It’s almost as if they were purposefully trying to hurt your eyes. This made it a very hard movie to watch without feeling seasick. With a huge budget and capable people behind the camera, I just can’t believe this was allowed to happen.
  • As for what I did like – the action. The sequences are very well done on all counts (except maybe the magical dogs – WTF is that all about???) and you end up genuinely caring about the main characters. I also really loved that the country is named Panem – Latin for bread.

So yeah, that’s basically what I felt. It was an enjoyable movie, but not one that was easy to watch, follow, understand, or accept. Based on conversations with my roommate and her friend and other fans of the books, I honestly don’t think a lot of these issues are addressed in the books. From what I’ve heard, they go into more detail, but not necessarily the details that would make things click for me. As a fan of dystopian literature, this seems like a paint-by-number attempt. I got the impression that the author and/or the filmmakers cobbled together a lot of elements of various dystopian novels, added in a tough female lead and a love triangle, and hinted at a bunch of other directions without actually going there. As entertainment it works, but when measured against other works in this same broad genre it just doesn’t hold up.

Moonrise Kingdom reviewed

As promised, here are some of my thoughts on Moonrise Kingdom…..

Let my start by saying that I am a fan of all things Wes Anderson. I understand the criticisms that he gets, and in some instances they actually do have merit. And while I’ve enjoyed his last few movies, they’ve left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. I’ve been eagerly anticipating Moonrise Kingdom since the day they announced filming was completed. But I was a little worried that I would be disappointed. I’m happy to say the exact opposite was the case. While I’m still processing things, and repeated viewings will ultimately confirm or deny this, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that this might just be Anderson’s crowning achievement. Almost everything in  the movie worked, and when it worked, it really worked. It felt like the most complete, most rewarding, most viewable movie he’s done since The Royal Tenenbaums.

The story is pretty simple. It’s 1965 on a remote island off the coast of Maine. An awkward, nerdy “Khaki scout” forms a friendship with a “troubled” young girl. The two plan to run away together and retrace the historic trail along the coast of their island. When they’re found to be missing, all hell breaks loose in this sleepy little community. The two are separated, and child services gets involved, before they are eventually reunited during the storm of the century. It’s your clichéd story of forbidden teenage love amongst misunderstood outsiders who, because of their isolation, have somehow been sheltered from the changing world around them. In essence, it’s all of the things that Wes Anderson critics hate about his movies. While this movie might not sway the harshest of the critics, it’s just way too likable to not win over at least a few.

The strength of the movie is without a doubt its two young leads. Sam’s awkwardness is extremely endearing – you spend the entire movie rooting for him to get the girl who is way out of his league. Suzy has a certain slyness to her – she might be the 1960’s equivalent of the misunderstood emo kid, but she’s brimming with wit and intelligence and a certain maturity beyond her years. The chemistry between the two seems genuine, and they make a perfectly adorable couple. They often speak like adults, but they have all of the whimsical qualities that come standard with the twelve-year-old worldview.

As for the rest of the cast, they all turn in fine performances, especially Edward Norton as the scout master, Bill Murray as Suzy’s helpless father, and Jason Schwartzman as cousin Ben. The refreshing this was that, even with so many big names on board, it never felt like they were competing for the spotlight (which, if we’re being totally honest, has been a problem in a few Wes Anderson movies). In fact, they seemed content to play their supporting roles like cameos and let the two kids be the focus of the movie – which is exactly why this movie succeeds. Every scene, every line, it all plays to the strengths of the movie. It’s cute, but never for the sake of being cute. The soundtrack never jumps in your face and shouts its hipster cred. The quirky cinematography never distracts from the action that is going on all around us. The bottom line remains the desire to tell a good story (with more laugh-out-loud moments than most Anderson movies) and to make the viewer connect with the main characters and relate to their longings. On these accounts, Moonrise Kingdom is an absolute triumph.

The only major drawback to the movie is the narrator, who only appears a few times, thankfully. His scenes do help to fast forward things a little and help us to understand the context that this story is taking place within, but for the most part they are completely pointless. It breaks up the natural flow of the movie, and by constantly breaking the fourth wall, makes this movie seem like it’s trying to be a bit more clever than it actually is. The narrator scenes are very tongue-in-cheek and  do provide some laughs, but at the expense of the whole. Getting rid of them altogether wouldn’t hurt the film one bit – even if we didn’t know the name of the storm and when it was going to hit, we could still easily understand the impact it had. Perhaps expanding them might work – rather than a gimmicky aside, they could be used as the primary storytelling device. But that would completely change the character of this movie, and there’s really no way to know if it would be a change for the better or not. But as it stands, these few scenes break things up enough to keep this movie from being perfect, but they don’t harm it so much that you can’t easily ignore them and focus on the good.

Basically what we have is a very good, sometimes amazing movie that proves to be so likable that even people who don’t like Anderson’s style will have to admit he’s really accomplished something here.  If you’re already a fan, you’ll flat-out love this movie. If you’re on the fence, it just might win you over. And if you’re sick of Wes Anderson and his methods, you should probably check out this movie before you write the final chapter.


So as I predicted, my friend cancelled on me last night. But in a flash of good timing, my neighbor sent me a text right before I got off work saying she wanted to go out and have a drink. I told her we should do dinner too, so she came downtown and we went to Pack’s Tavern. My stomach had been bothering me all day, so I didn’t drink anything and I only ate breadsticks. She said she felt bad for me and insisted on paying for my breadsticks. I don’t usually let girls pay, but considering she has a boyfriend, and she makes about three times as much as I do, I figured what the hell. She claims she’s going to be my “wingman” and find me a girl. We talked about random stuff and hung out for a while and then went home. All in all a pretty fun night.

This afternoon around 2:00 my family got here. We went to Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company and saw The Pirates! Band of Misfits. It was pretty good, lots of funny and quotable scenes, and the animation was terrific. Maybe not on par with other Aardman movies (I have a soft spot for Chicken Run) but definitely worth seeing. After the movie ended we hung out on the patio for a while talking with this older couple who had two really cute dogs. Then we headed over to The Hop and got some ice cream, then went to Walmart. My niece and nephew wanted to go swimming, but my parents didn’t pack their bathing suits. After buying some new ones, along with some random drinks and DVD’s, we headed back to their hotel for a swim.

We spent the first chunk of our pool time playing water basketball. At the other end were a young guy and girl, who eventually made their way over and we all started talking. They were from South Carolina, brother and sister, he was 19 and she was 18. She was ridiculously cute and really friendly. She hung onto the side of the pool and kicked her feet up and I noticed she had her toenails painted in rainbow colors. She accidentally kicked me and I jokingly said something to her about it. Then she made a game of it and started kicking me on purpose. So I did what any red-blooded guy would do: I started grabbing her feet and tickling her. The rest of the night we were giving each other funny looks and flirting, and on more than a few occasions we played footsie under the water. They said they’re staying until Tuesday, so hopefully we’ll see them again tomorrow night in the pool, in which case I might try my luck and see if I can get any further than flirtatious foot-play.

Tomorrow we’re most likely going to go pan for gold at this place in Spruce Pine and then go to Linville Caverns. At some point in time we have to make it to Target so I can pick up my prescription, and they also want to go on one of the ghost tours and check out some shops downtown.  I don’t know how much time I’ll spend online the next day or so, they like to start things early in the morning so eventually I’ll have to start going to bed at a decent time. But yeah, so that’s pretty much what’s going on. The End.


Last night I got together with my new friend Lucie. We went down the street to Circle In The Square and got a pizza and then came back to my place to watch a movie and eat said pizza. As anyone who knows me can attest to, I have a lot of DVD’s. I think the proper terminology might be “shitload,” but we won’t squabble over specifics. The point is, when presented with said shitload of DVD’s, Lucie almost immediately says “I want to watch Life Of Brian.” So watch it we did. And pretty much quote every scene before it happened.

After the movie ended we got to talking about Monty Python and British humour (see what I did there?) in general, and then comes the startling revelation that she had never seen any episodes of Fawlty Towers. I decided to make haste in rectifying that unfortunate situation and went for the full-scale indoctrination that is The Germans, quite possibly the funniest half hour ever committed to celluloid. She laughed uncontrollably for most of it, squeaking and squealing and holding her stomach in agony. A good time was had.

We decided to end it after that episode and leave the rest of the series for another time. We spent the rest of the night talking about all sorts of random things, most commonly politics, religion, and music. I played her a few of my songs and we chatted some more, until we realized what time it was. She finally left around 1:30 or so, and I headed off to bed. But my good ol’ lactose intolerance didn’t like that idea, and decided that four slices of pizza was reason enough to keep me up until after 3:00. I had a pretty hard time getting out of bed this morning, and once my energy drink wore off I sleepwalked through the rest of my workday. The plan tonight is to get to bed realllllllly early, so on that note I’ll end this and attempt to stick to the plan.


In my post yesterday I screwed up the name of the movie… it’s actually Dracula’s Daughter. I guess I was thinking about Bride Of Frankenstein and confused the two titles. Whatever. Point is, here’s an actual post about the movie, now that I’ve seen it and can say something about it.

All in all it was a pretty good movie. Not great, not perfect, but good. It was extremely short, clocking in at barely over an hour. This made the tempo feel a bit rushed, and because of this the character development left a lot to be desired. But then again, it’s a horror movie, so I’m sure that wasn’t one of the primary concerns of the filmmakers. There was a lot of humor in the film, and I laughed out loud several times, but it almost felt like two different movies – the early scenes felt a bit like an Abbot and Costello movie, while the end of the movie was a little closer to Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. I have no problem with humor in horror movies, but if they could have intertwined the two a little more it would have helped the continuity of things. There were a few moments of typical 1930’s overacting, but for the most part everything was well-played.

The Carolina’s upstairs lounge is a great place to see movies, the atmosphere is relaxed and kinda funky and you get the impression that everyone there is a real movie buff. I’m not sure if they have discussions after the Thursday Horror Picture Show or not, but I know they do when they show the Asheville Film Society movies on Tuesday nights, and it’s usually pretty enlightening. We decided not to stick around after the movie, so who knows. Overall it was a pretty fun evening.

I didn’t get to chat very much with my new friend Meghan, there was a little awkwardness around the whole situation. We agreed to get together again sometime, hopefully next time we’ll get dinner or something so we can talk and loosen up a little. But yeah, so anywho, that was my night. Now to find something to do tomorrow night…..


My upcoming week should be pretty jam-packed. Let’s see……….

I just got done watching Carolina beat the crap out of Maryland. On Saturday they’ll do the same thing to Duke. But more on that later.

Tomorrow (in addition to being the wonderful and magical day known as “Laundry Day”) I will be meeting a girl named Meghan, whom I have been emailing for the past two months or so. She was in Korea teaching and just recently came back to this neck of the planet. We’re going to meet up at the Carolina cinema for the Thursday Horror Picture Show, which this week will be showing Bride Of Dracula. Should be a fun time.

Friday I may or may not be getting together with Charlie. She’s been a bit hard to get ahold of lately and I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there. Her car is evidently having some serious issues, so if we do get together I’ll be driving there. But I still haven’t heard from her, so it’s all up in the air.

Saturday is the day of the aforementioned ass-whooping that Duke will receive courtesy of my Tar Heels. There’s absolutely no reason they should have won the first meeting, and you know Carolina is pretty pissed at themselves for letting that happen. I expect them to play with more passion than they have all year and put on a clinic on How To Beat Your Opponent Senseless. And let’s be honest, Duke kinda sucks at home this year. Unless Austin Rivers has another career night, things could get pretty ugly for the Devils. Just the way we like it.

And last, but certainly not least… Sunday I will be going to see The Lemonheads at The Orange Peel. Not only that, but I will be going for free, courtesy of my extremely awesome friend Sarah. I can’t even explain how psyched I am about this. They’ll be playing their classic album It’s A Shame About Ray in its entirety. I was about 14 when that album came out, and even though I didn’t realize it at the time, it pretty much shaped my musical tastes for the next 20 years. I spent most of my childhood listening to top 40 pop and my parents’ favorites such as The Beatles and old Motown classics. In the late 80’s I started to get into hair metal, and when Nirvana broke big in 1991 I was a full-fledged rocker. But there was something missing in all this loud noisy stuff I was listening to. That something was big melodic hooks that bury themselves deep in your brain and refuse to leave. Ever. When I first heard The Lemonheads’ cover of “Mrs. Robinson” I knew I had found what I was looking for – the perfect bridge between my earlier pop favorites and the loud guitar rock I was listening to at the time. I bought It’s A Shame About Ray (albeit the rereleased version that included “Mrs. Robinson” and changed “My Drug Buddy” to “Buddy”) and the rest was history. They never became my favorite band, but to this day that is one of my favorite records. Nearly every band I’ve fallen for in the past two decades has had that same combination of crunchy guitars, folksy strumming, and huge pop hooks. Now I’m about to see the band that helped start me on this crazy journey in search of the perfect power pop song. I’ll be sure and post some pictures, maybe a video, and a nice little concert review, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to wrap this up and relax a little. Last night I somehow managed to fall asleep at 10:30, but I’m still somewhat exhausted. I’m pretty sure my body hates me for all the sleepless nights and caffeine binges. The End.



I am happy to report that The Muppets met my expectations in every way. And considering those expectations were ridiculously high, that’s really saying something. This was quite possibly the best movie I’ve seen in theaters in years.

Everything about it was perfect. The songs were great. The cast was awesome. The cameos were hilarious. It paid tribute to The Muppets that I grew up on, with plenty of inside jokes, obscure characters, and self-referential humor. There were a lot of breaking-the-fourth-wall type jokes as well. And not only that, but it really had a lot of heart. There was a great theme about finding yourself, and about realizing what’s most important to you.

In short, if you’re a Muppet fan, you need to see this movie. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll sing along, and if you’re drinking something you’ll most likely spit it out of your nose at some point in time. My only regret was that I wasn’t able to see this during its first run in theaters, but in all honesty the vibe of the Brew-n-view fit this movie perfectly so I won’t complain too much. When this is released on DVD I plan on purchasing it, maybe springing for whatever deluxe edition they come out with, especially if it includes the Toy Story short that played before the movie.

Asheville peeps, you only have a few more days to catch this at APBC before it’s replaced by Tin Tin. It’s also playing at Cinebarre, but I’m not sure how much longer it will be there. If you don’t catch it in theaters, at least rent it. This is a movie that must be seen.