Charlie Sheen – Violent Torpedo of Truth Review

You just spent $120 on a ticket to something to which you had no idea what to expect.  A guy, an actor, whom you’ve seen all your life is coming off what’s close to a melt down and announces he has a tour coming to your city.  So you say whatever and you buy a ticket.  You have no idea what to expect.

Your tickets are sweet, second row behind the old orchestra pit.  As you’re walking up the aisle toward the stage you’re saying to yourself “holy shit we’re right up front”, but up front to what?  You have no idea what to expect.  But, you’re in high spirits and you’re with your friends and you’re enjoying the music.  The sound system is impressive and they haven’t even jacked it up yet, it’s just grooving.

Then there’s an indication that the show is starting and out comes the first act.  A comedian, if you can call him that, named Kirk Fox is the first guy to take the stage and warm up the crowd.  He totally bombed.  He was trying to tell an airport story about how the LAX airport staff had lost his shoe and it wasn’t working.  The crowd, full of trolls, started in on the guy and he folded hard-core.  He never really could get the airport story off the ground [bad pun].  I give him credit, he had no where to go and he stuck it out.  But, he didn’t have any good material.  I was rooting for him and wanted him to have something funny, but he just didn’t.  The crowd wasn’t nice.   They beat the guy up pretty good.  In fact, Charlie was right there back stage and you could see him from where we were sitting and he was watching his buddy bomb.  He came out to help the guy out and the crowd went sick.  This was the first sighting of Charlie.  He was still in a jogging suit.  He said to the crowd to give the guy a break.   But, the crowd wasn’t interested in the guy, they just wanted Charlie.   Charlie said he’d be right back in a little bit and the comedian started in again on his bit.  But, he still sucked.  So the crowd got harsher and harsher.  It was an ominous foreshadowing as it turns out.   It would get ugly before it was over.

So, the comedian ends badly and now we’re to an interlude.  Probably about twenty minutes later, the music fired up and the theater went dark again.  A video started and this was probably the best part of the show.   There were clips from all kinds of famous movies:  Jaws, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Animal House among others.  There were a lot of war, death, and hardcore type clips that went into this video mash-up.  All while these clips were showing, the music was bumping hard.  The bass was so powerful that it was just shaking you.   The bass was so powerful that you were numbed into submission as you watched the clips.  This was for sure the best part of the show.

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Lars and the Real Girl

The caption on the cover of this movie sums it up best:  “A whimsical, funny, moving film”.  That’s exactly what it is.  My wife, bless her heart, is always bringing home movies, books, and music that would slip by me.  That’s one of the greatest things about being married to a teacher.  She’s exposed to all those kids each year and knows what they’re reading, what they’re watching, and what they’re listening to.  I’m not certain that all the kids are watching this movie, but she heard about it nonetheless.  It’s a funny thing about this movie too, if you weren’t paying attention to it, you probably never would have noticed it.  It was touching enough that I’m compelled to throw in my two cents on it.

Whenever you’re about to watch a movie you know nothing about, you embark on a risk of wasting a couple precious hours of your life.  When you’re a busy parent, that’s a big risk to take.  When that risk pays off, it feels just a little bit better than normal.  It’s like when you’re kid and you reach into that bowl full of lollipops with your eyes closed with the mindset that you’re going to take whatever you get no matter what; and lo and behold you pull out a good one.  If you like the same kind of candy I do, you’re going to like Lars and the Real Girl.

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Tequila

This post about tequila will start out talking about absinthe.  Why?  Because it’s purported that Vincent Van Gogh’s drink of choice, absinthe, has hallucinogenic properties.  The hallucinogenic properties in absinthe have their origins in a drug called thujone which is most concentrated in grand wormwood (genus Artemisia Absinthium) and what gave the old world absinthes their green color.  The funny thing about Absinthe today, however, is that it really doesn’t have any thujone in it, but rather green food coloring.  When people describe their trippy experiences with absinthe, they’re most likely having a placebo effect and getting drunk from some high proof alcohol.  I think (and it could be my imagination too) that the blue agave from which tequila is derived actually gives you more of an hallucinogenic twist than just drinking regular alcohol.  It’s non-scientific, but many years of personal research have led me to believe that there is something different going on after a couple tequilas have been consumed.  So, why don’t we get started and talk about tequila and its history.

Similar to brandy, as we turn the pages of history backward, we find that we must again give thanks to the Spaniards.  In the 16th century conquest of Mexico for the Spanish Crown, distilling technology crossed the ocean and wound up in Mexico City.  The Mexicans were already on to something for centuries drinking the fermented juice of the Mezcal plant in the form of a beverage called pulque.   For hundreds of years, however, only the highest authority figures in Aztec and Mayan culture were able to celebrate in this pleasure of drinking pulque.  When Spaniards arrived, they were able to change the Indian process into a distillation process and put into production North America’s first commercially produced distilled beverage and bring this blessing to the people.

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The Switch

I love movies.   I love to watch:  new movies, classics, kids movies, all kinds of movies.  One of my favorite things, however, is when I have a ho hum attitude about a movie going in and then I really like it.  This is the case with The Switch starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman.  To top it off, critics had said they disliked this movie or it wasn’t worth the money or whatever it is they said.  I hadn’t really read a critical review, but I’d heard snippets on the radio and overheard rumblings from people checking out reviews in magazines and whatnot.  Well, I’ve never really trusted critics and this is one more example why.  Critics can sometimes factor in and can sometimes be right, but for the most part, they suck.  Critics have also put Jennifer Aniston into the Tom Cruise Zone.  Critical acclaim has never come Tom Cruise’s way yet I seem to enjoy a boat load of his films:  Top Gun, Cocktail, Risky Business, A Few Good Men, Collateral, and the list goes on.  I find that Jennifer Aniston is treated in similar regard in the sense that no matter what she does, the critics say it stinks or find some other trivial point to harp on.  On the other hand, for this critic, there are plenty of Jennifer Aniston movies that are worth watching and enjoyable.

My wife and I missed celebrating our anniversary this June because we’re both so busy with the kids and home improvement projects and a million other things.  So when my mother-in-law said she could watch the kids and we could go out, we thought of our standard 4 hour adventure of dinner and a movie.  The question was what movie to see as we felt like there wasn’t anything out there we were dying to see.  I voted for the The Switch and she agreed.  I didn’t know much of anything about it except that it starred Jennifer Aniston, was about artificial insemination, and critics said it wasn’t very good.  When we walked into the atrium and saw the marquee, I was very pleased to see that the movie also starred Jason Bateman because I have been liking him more and more over the past couple of years and he’s been putting out great stuff.

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The Blind Side

It’s been hard for us to put a movie into the DVD player lately for fear of it sucking.   My wife has been busy grading school papers after we’ve put the kids to bed.  My work is non-stop.  We do our best to make time for the kids to get outside, et cetera.  When The Blind Sidecame from Netflix, I was squeamish.  It was that same monotonous feeling I’ve been having about how I can’t afford to waste time on movies that suck.  My watch/return ratio (i.e. the number of movies I watch to the number of movies that don’t suck) is somewhere around 5 to 1 and that is with a lot of upfront diligence on reading reviews, talking to friends, and listening to opinions on the radio.  And, I’ve only written a handful of movie reviews and I usually only write about the ones that really strike me; this is one of those movies.

Was the movie trite?  No.  Was it predictable? Yes.   The word tritekept occurring to me again and again throughout this movie.   I enjoyed the movie right from the beginning and I knew exactly how the story was going to go.  I had an inkling of what the movie was about with regard to Michael Oher’s story and the fact this movie was based on that true story.  Yet, even if it wasn’t, you would have been able to guess exactly what was going to happen.   This story was a just a real life example of a 100 year old tried and true Hollywood formula.  But, and this is a big but, it didn’t matter.  The story was brilliant.   I suppose this is why the word trite kept popping in my head.  How can a story so realistic (forget about the Hollywood dramatizations – the story in general) be trite?  How can human compassion for others in need be trite?  How can this story be considered trite?  It can’t.  It isn’t.  And, it’s dismissive to think so.

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Extract

This is a movie that you probably missed if you weren’t looking for it.  I wanted to see it in the theatre and was waiting and watching for it and I still couldn’t find it.  The film’s creator, Mike Judge, is also the creator of Beavis and Butt-Head and the movie Office Space.  Ever since Beavis and Butt-Head, I have been a huge Mike Judge fan.  Office Space sealed the deal and therefore, I couldn’t wait for Extract.

My wife was ho-hum about the movie but I managed to get it moved to the top of our Netflix cue when I realized that it was already on video (I still have no idea how it sneaked by us to video because I was honestly seeking it out to watch it at the theatre).  So having her being ho-hum and the movie completely falling off the radar, I had suspicion that it might suck.  Being that Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Kristen Wiig, and Mila Kunis are in this movie and that Mike Judge wrote and directed it, I just knew it couldn’t suck, but I was a little nervous.  As you will see in this review, it did not suck.

My initial draw to see the movie was Mike Judge.  But lately, I’ve been really digging Mila Kunis.  She is a total babe and it made me want to see the movie even more.  She ironically graced the cover of my Esquire magazine this month and there is a nice little layout with a couple good pics that you should check out.  So, enough with the prelude and on with the review.

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500 Days of Summer

This is a movie about boy meets girl.  The writing is very clever, fresh, and unique.  Like other movies that go forward and backward in time this movie starts near the end and then quickly takes you back to the beginning.   From there, it bounces forward and backward in time.  The way they did this was kind because they gave you a counter to let you know exactly what day of the 500 days it was.  The counter would spin forward and back so you would know exactly where you were along the timeline.  The color of the trees in the background setting of the counter would also change colors and let you know the mood of our protagonist.   To explain that further might give too much away.

I didn’t think I was going to like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but he did a good job.  He was believable and in the end I liked him and his performance.  The real intrigue to get me to watch the movie would be Zooey Deschanel.  I think I like her a lot and need to go off on tangent about her for the next couple paragraphs.  She is amazingly cute and talented.  I titled a post called “Yes Man” and it was not about the movie “Yes Man” but rather about that ‘type’ of person in the workplace.  I did, however, grab a picture of Zooey Deschanel and Jim Carrey for the blog post just to have an image to enhance the post.  Because I have added the wordpress.com blogstats plugin to this blog site, I’m able to see all my stats (e.g. hits per day/week/month, what posts were viewed, and what search criteria were used to drive traffic to the site, etc…)  It’s an amazing plugin and the only thing you need to install it is wordpress.com blog site and API key.  So, without digressing too much further I’ll get to my  point: the word’s “Zooey Deschanel” drive more traffic to my site than any other search words.  This is where I really learned a couple of things about SEO:  1) search engine optimization really has a lot more to do with keywords like Zooey Deschanel and Miley Cyrus, than anything else.   2) there is a lot of buzz surrounding Zooey Deschanel.  It surprises me that more people hit this site searching on Zooey Deschanel than Miley Cyrus.

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Brandy

Spanish_reconquistaBrandy is made from distilling wine.  Its proliferation started when the Moors left the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century.  The persecution and forced conversion to Catholicism of the Muslim population during the time of the Reconquista in the second part of the 15th century caused a mass exodus of Muslims.  In their hasty exodus of what is now Spain, they left behind the stills they used to distill their alcohol.  The Spaniards were skilled wine makers and it did not take them long to start using those stills to turn their wine into what would later be called Brandy.  Within 100 years, distilled wine or Brandy, had made its way all across Europe.

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