Holy crap does this hit close to home...
February 21, 2014
Unimaginable but true.
Where the hell was I? Oh yeah: Probably with my nose in a book waiting for the next episode of Melrose Place to air. I guess, back then, I didn't want my MTV...
February 17, 2014
On a chilly day in the late 80s I ventured out to Movieland on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, New York with my father to witness two dim-witted high school seniors from Encino, California have a fateful encounter with George Carlin and his time-traveling phone booth in the parking lot of a Circle K.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was released on February 17, 1989 and became a surprise hit considering it was shot two years prior and went through some drama-filled distributor swapping. It was also one of the first films I ever owned on VHS cassette, a hand-me-down from an uncle who had gotten in way over his head with a Columbia House membership. And since I owned a copy of the movie, I watched it numerous times, learning how to say "shit" in French (thanks to Napoleon's bowling snafu) and appreciate a good Iron Maiden pun.
Fun fact: Joan of Arc was played by Jane Wiedlin, the same Jane Wiedlin who appeared as the Singing Telegram in Clue four years prior. It took me a few viewings to realize this as a 10-year-old.
And now that the script of a third film has been written, I can't figure out why a studio hasn't offered to back up this excellent slice of nostalgia. Sure, Keanu bombed with 47 Ronin, but he needs to bounce back at the box office, and this will surely reestablish his marquee status. And I'm sure Alex Winter, who's aged quite well, could use a trip down memory lane with his fellow Wyld Stallyn.
Hell, if Hollywood can pump out three Harold & Kumars, then it can certainly squeeze out a final Bill & Ted chapter.
February 14, 2014
But back to the music...While you binge on Valentine's Day candy, pressure your loved ones to do something special for you on this high-holy Hallmark holiday, and eventually kiss those Winter Olympics goodbye (so long, Sochi), enjoy these tunes from yours truly.
These are what kept me company during my travels in Canada last month, and I hope they do the same for you.
1. "You're In Love" by Betty Who:
2. "Holding Onto Heaven" by Foxes:
3. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams
4. "Holding On For Life" by Broken Bells
5. "Unbelievers" by Vampire Weekend
6. "I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo" by Capital Cities:
7. "Find You" by Zedd feat. Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant
8. "Wanna Get Down" by Grades vs. Brandy
9. "Black Belt" by John Grant
10. "Swine" by Lady Gaga
11. "Dare You" by Hardwell feat. Matthew Koma:
12. "Overtime" by Cash Cash
13. "Into The Blue" by Kylie Minogue
14. "Louder" by Lea Michele
15. "Roller Coaster" by Toni Braxton & Babyface
16. "Just Another Night" by Icona Pop
17. "Everything is AWESOME" by Tegan & Sara feat. The Lonely Island
18. "Every Time I Touch You" by Metro Station
19. "Infinite" by Sam Sparro
20. "Cold Piece" by Melanie Fiona
February 12, 2014
February 11, 2014
On a Thursday night in the early-to-mid 80s I became transfixed by a film that would leave a lasting impression on my young brain. I remember it was a Thursday because those were the nights my mother worked late, and my father pretty much let me watch whatever I wanted.
Murder by Death, the Neil Simon-penned farce that starred a dozen famous names (Maggie Smith, Peter Falk, Alec Guiness, Peter Sellers - to name a few), had a few runs on broadcast television, and since the age of 5, I had always made an appointment to watch it whenever a listing popped up in TV Guide -- that is, until my family finally learned how to properly use a VCR.
Murder is clearly a precursor of Clue, another murder-mystery spoof I proudly list on my Top 10 Favorite Films of All-Time. The zany plot points, the cheeky dialogue, the gothic settings -- all of it must have conspired to appeal to my then-burgeoning inner mystery buff.
The opening credits of this 1976 film is probably another element that drew me in. Designed by Charles Addams, the pop-up cutout features caricatures of each actor, some with eyes that creepily shift back and forth. It closely resembles the artwork featured in Masterpiece Mystery, which happens to be done by Edward Gorey, my favorite artist. Also, the film's signature score is a classy-yet-quirky orchestration of horns, strings, and flutes that perfectly captures the tone of the whole production.
But ultimately, what my obsession with this near-obscure piece of cinema proves -- a movie that came out four years before I was even born -- is that I am indeed my mother's son. In retrospect, my mother, a fan of all things Agatha Christie, clearly influenced my pop cultural tastes. I grew up in a household filled with paperback detective novels, Sherlock Holmes, and Murder She Wrote (and since I'm an only child, the influence was probably stronger).
Just another piece of insight on why I am who I am today.