Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This is my friend Heather Ryan.

She lives in tour busses managing drunken rock stars (like Cold War Kids and The Gaslight Anthem) and taking pictures.

She has a website where she displays them all.
There are a lot of really, really good pictures.

She saw The Boss. Live. In Europe. I kind of hate her for that.
You shouldn't, though.
You should go to her website and look at her photos.
Go there often.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Jake Scott is no stranger to movies. The son of famous director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) and the nephew of Tony Scott (Top Gun, Déjà Vu), Jake grew up all around the process and is at Sundance with his first feature, Welcome to the Rileys.

And it’s a solid debut, too (he probably ignored all the weird advice uncle Tony must have tried to give him). James Gandolfini and Mellisa Leo’s daughter was killed in a car crash 8 years ago, and they’ve never been able to recover. They remain married, but life is anything but happy. Gandolfini goes on a business trip to New Orleans and meets a teenage stripper/runaway/prostitute (Kristen Stewart) and takes her under his wing.

Sounds cliché, sure, but Scott and the cast pull it off remarkably well. Gandolfini continues to prove that he’s one of the finest actors working today (and makes me miss Tony Soprano more than ever), Melissa Leo is her usual great self, and Kristen Stewart is surprisingly good. It’s hard to agree that her performance here is akin to watching a young Leonardo DiCaprio or Sean Penn as some have said, but at least she seems to have convinced everyone (well, me at least) that Twilight is strictly a paycheck job that she mails in.

The film is not without faults, but the performances keep it from sliding off the rails and Scott keeps those performances in line. In the hands of a lesser director, those same roles could have gone unchecked, slipping into an overdramatic mess. Luckily, Scott has a good head on his shoulders—and another one watching over, just in case.



Yep, the government is still full of crooks and liars.

In what is hands down my favorite movie title of the festival, director Alex Gibney tells the story of how Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff scammed all kinds of people out of millions of dollars. And how he was doing it for a long, long time. The film features interviews with nearly everyone involved, including Dancing With the Stars contestant and all-around douchebag Tom DeLay.

The film runs a bit long—close to the two-hour mark—and definitely drags in the middle, which hurts it as an overall film. But the story of Abramoff’s early rise to prominence with the College Republicans is fascinating. His ad-libbed speech at the RNC where the powers-that-be try to cut him off by lowering the floor from under him is a highlight, as is the story of Abramoff trying to parlay his political views into films by financing the classic Red Scorpion. Did you know that the weight lifting move Dolph Lundgren performs to save the day at the climax of the film was added because Abramoff was a champion weightlifter in High School?

The film had some interesting moments, but if you follow politics at all, you already knew the story. But if you don’t, at least Casino Jack is a fun way to learn a thing or two.


Monday, January 25, 2010


Five movies in a single day takes a lot more out of me than I imagined it would. I barely had time to do anything more than leave my seat, walk across the parking lot to the press tent, check in and get in line for the next movie.

I did have a little break between Casino Jack and Welcome to the Rileys to buy some crackers at the Fresh Market and walk back and start my car for a minute.

See, I drive a real sweet '98 Honda Civic that, for some reason, doesn't start if it's been sitting in the cold for too long. Sometimes, if I'm in for a particularly long day of work, I'll sneak out at about the halfway point to start it up for a minute. Likewise, I have to venture out and start it up before I go to sleep or there's a good chance it might not start in the morning. The battery is fine and so is the starter (at least according to the guy at Auto Zone) and I'm afraid that if I have a real mechanic take a look, he'll open a Pandora's Box of problems that I just don't want to fix.

That's why I had to walk back to my car halfway through the day. I know you were wondering.

Anyway, I've got reviews for the last three movies I saw on Sunday going up early tomorrow. Then it's back up to Park City for a few more—including the Banksy doc Exit Through the Gift Shop, I hope. I haven't heard anyone talking about it up there, so hopefully it's not a complete train wreck. Or worse, competently done but just really, really boring.

I'd hate for that to be the case.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I realize that today is actually the third full day of Sundance, but it's only my second. I wasn't able to make it up yesterday because I drive a Honda Civic and couldn't battle the canyon snow yesterday.

I'm seeing three more movies today (Casino Jack and the United States of Money, Welcome to the Riley's and Buried) and taking tomorrow off. I've got work and I really want to see Bracewar in Ogden. But Tuesday I'll be back in full force, so keep checking back.

On another note, a lot more of this going on today.


Someone needs to stop Juliette Lewis from making movies. And contrary to what I may have said before, someone should stop Orlando Bloom, also.

Sympthay for Delicious tells the story of a homeless DJ Delicious Dean O'Dwyer (Christopher Thornton)  with no faith who can suddenly cure the sick. Mark Ruffalo (who also directed) plays a priest who puts him up in a hotel in exchange for healing people. But all Delicious wants to do is get back behind the turntables. He seeks out a trashy up-and-coming rock band (that needs a DJ for some reason) and is eventually given the job because the band is convinced his healing powers will boost their popularity.

Thornton does really good work here as a paralyzed man struggling with his own limitations and Ruffalo shows that he has a bright future behind the camera. But the story gets downright silly at times and whenever Lewis and Bloom appear onscreen the battle of overacting reaches great new heights.

1.5/4 (Because Thornton really does a good job and I still respect Rufallo, he just needed more help.)


If I wasn’t already sure the government was full of crooks, liars and all around shitty people, The Tillman Story would have sold me a thousand times over.

Pat Tillman was a safety for the Arizona Cardinals and walked away from a million dollar contract to join the army after September 11. A little more than halfway through his service, Tillman was killed in combat. Only he wasn’t killed during the Silver Star worthy heroics that the Army initially said. Tillman was killed by confused and overly excited American soldiers determined to remain in a firefight with an “enemy” that none of them actually saw.

Watching the story of how Tillman’s family was repeatedly lied to in an attempt to turn his death into a national recruiting tool is infuriating. Watching Tillman’s younger brother take the stage at his funeral and crush the spirit of the “it’s all in God’s plan” speeches of the political leaders with a simple line like “Pat wasn’t religious. He’s fucking dead,” is priceless.

More on that, I wish they had used the original title for the movie I'm Pat _______ Tillman. According the soldier that was next to Tillman when he died, his last words were yelling out "I'm Pat Fucking Tillman! Why are you shooting at us?"


Friday, January 22, 2010


Now, that's how you make an advertisement.


I’m not sure that I can actually find the words to describe this movie.

It’s remarkably well crafted and the performances all feel very authentic. Director Gaspar Noe holds absolutely nothing back and will not shy away from anything he has to say. I didn’t really expect anything less, but it’s a harrowing film. Themes of life, death, sex, drugs and love are littered throughout and while there is somewhat of a linear story, it takes a backseat to the visuals. And with this movie, the visuals are everything.

But it left me emotionally, visually and mentally drained.

There were a few parts that were tough to watch, but I still couldn’t look away. After it was over, I needed to sit and let it all soak in for about half an hour.

I still don’t think I can put it in to words.

2.5/4 (Because I don't know what else to give it.)


I've never been a huge fan of war documentaries. They always tend to be a little too politically oriented and lean heavily one way or another.

Restrepo is not a normal war documentary.

The way it’s shot is remarkable in the fact that it gets right up close as the soldiers are constantly engaged in battle. It’s almost like a soldier was wearing a camera on his helmet the entire time. It’s amazing to see how calm everyone is with bullets whizzing past at all hours of the day. At the same time, they seem to be fighting ghosts. The soldiers may get close enough (as I’m sure they did) to the opposition but the camera never does. The entire film is spent firing at an invisible enemy that’s mentioned but never actually seen.

The most affecting parts of the film are the after-the-fact interviews. The emotion and constant struggle with what happened in Afghanistan still haunts these soldiers. Most likely it always will. 


SUNDANCE 2010: DAY 1 - QUICK NOTES - 1:30pm

-- You know who probably loves Sundance more than anyone? Towing companies. I’ve seen three cars towed from the Fresh Market parking lot since I got here at 10 this morning. And I’ve only managed to walk through it three times on my way to and from the theater. Between that and parking tickets, I bet there’s thousands of dollars coming in just because of people not paying attention.

And I bet that because I’ve noticed this, I’ll get back to where I parked and either find a boot on my tire or my car will be gone all together. God I hope not.

-- Since I have a press pass, my e-mail address has been given to every publicist in Park City. This is a good thing as well as a bad thing. Good because I found out that I can go to a panel with Russell Simmons next week and found out official times for the Banksy documentary right as they became available.

Bad because I get e-mails like this: “Acoustic benefit for Haiti earthquake victims at Harry O’s this afternoon, featuring Pras from the The Fugees. This invitation is for celebrities and VIP only.”

I am neither of those, but I didn’t want to go anyway. That’ll show them.

SUNDANCE 2010: DAY 1 - 10:10am

Of course I overslept. My alarm went off at the right time (I set it for 7:45) but, as is regularly the case, I hit snooze three times before I actually got out of bed. There was no way I was making the first screening. Get Low started at 9:30 am and I wasn’t out of the house until 8:30. Still in need of gas and coffee, it was going to be a long shot.

By the time I actually got to Park City, found a place to park (for free, thankfully) and walked to the theater—which was rough because I didn’t plan ahead at all—it was 10:00 and I didn’t want to be the guy that creeps into a screening half an hour late.

I still haven’t figured out the shuttle system and I don’t own a pair of snow boots, which meant the price for free parking was walking half a mile through unplowed, slush covered sidewalks. Far worse than the $10 I would have spent to be in a parking lot next to the theater.

Right now, home is the Yarrow Hotel where I spent most of my time last year. It’s quiet and warm and far better than walking back to where I parked for a few minutes of Internet time. The opening night documentary Restrepo starts at 11 and after that, I’m debating on whether or not I want to see Enter The Void. The latter is the new film from Gaspar Noe, who made Irreversible and will probably be interesting to say the least. But it’s also close to three hours long. I don’t know that I’ll be able to handle three hours of “a cinematically audacious exploration of the connected nature of sex, drugs, life and death” at 1:30 in the afternoon. That might be too much.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Richard and Brook are comfortable with their sexuality.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


So much to do.

1) Drive to Park City and pick up Sundance passes.

2) Go to the recording studio to watch Richard record vocals for Collapse stuff.

3) Comics.

Now that may not seem like much, but when my entire day yesterday consisted of watching That Thing You Do and playing on the internet, today is huge.

Stay tuned. I'm sure there will be ramblings and such later. It is my day off, after all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I wrote this for City Weekly last month, but it just made it into last week's issue.

The days keep going by faster and faster, and even though we’re already into 2010, “best-of-year” lists are still a-coming. That way, we can keep reminding you that the year is over and it’s time to get ready to do it all over again. So let’s get it rolling, because from the Big Two publishers all the way down to the unknown independents, 2009 was a solid year for comics.

Best Writer: Jason Aaron
When Aaron, a relatively unknown writer, launched Scalped for Vertigo a couple of years ago, people started to talk about him becoming the “next big thing.” The hype started growing. Then Aaron lived up to that hype. Scalped continues to be one of the best monthly books, and he’s making his mark on the current Ghost Rider, Punisher and Wolverine titles. His gritty detail and hard-boiled style of writing make him a perfect match for all of those characters, and hopefully more to come. And the best part about Jason Aaron? He’s still getting better.

Best Artist: Stuart Immonen
His profile has been on the rise over the past few years, and it’s because he’s so consistently good. He took over for Mark Bagley after a legendary 110 issues on Ultimate Spider-Man and immediately made that book his own. When the Ultimate line was revamped, Immonen jumped to one of Marvels biggest selling titles, New Avengers, and has knocked every single issue out of the park. Whether he’s illustrating a quiet moment between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones or a full-blown Avengers battle scene, he brings his A-game each time. And Immonen’s A-game has never once disappointed.

Best Ongoing: Invincible Iron Man
Most of 2009 was spent with Tony Stark systematically destroying his brain and nearly killing himself to keep secrets from Norman Osborne. Watching one of the smartest men in all of comics sacrifice his intelligence for the greater good was almost heartbreaking. Matt Fraction planned a truly epic demise that utilized and fleshed out Iron Man’s supporting cast—something that needed to be done. No fear, though—both Tony Stark and Iron Man are already poised for a grand rebirth, and probably just in time for Iron Man 2 to hit theaters next summer.

Best Mini-Series: Incognito
Make it three years in a row that Ed Brubaker is somewhere on this list. Best writer in ’07, Best Ongoing (for Criminal) in ’08, and his reign only continues. Incognito was a sci-fi/pulp/superhero story that had everything you could have wanted—action, double-crosses, mad scientists—packed into it. Brubaker and Sean Philips put their brilliant Criminal on hold to make room for this, and it was the only acceptable substitution. Brubaker—especially with Philips in tow—shows that he can do no wrong when it comes to comics.

One That Will Be Missed: 100 Bullets
For nearly 10 years, 100 Bullets was a monthly staple from Vertigo. The twisting, labyrinthine plot that Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso paved over the past decade finally came to its just conclusion. Everyone had to atone for past sins and every character got what they deserved. 100 Bullets read like a skewed version of the American Dream and focused on everything that makes this country what it is—sex, corruption, power, conspiracy, love, morality and death— for better or worse.

Biggest Improvement: DC Comics
Last year, nothing seemed to be going right for DC. What a difference a year makes. The change is largely thanks to writers Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns. Those two grabbed the wheel and righted the ship again, making DC comics readable and fun for the first time in a while. Both have had tremendous success this year—especially Johns with Blackest Night and Green Lantern (which was my second-favorite ongoing). With a lot of great stuff on the horizon, 2010 is looking like a very good year to be a DC fan.


If I don't make it back, blame these guys.

Sky News -- Members of a gang arrested in Peru have confessed to killing people and extracting their body fat to sell to international cosmetic companies, police claim.

Three men were tracked down in the jungle of remote Huanuco province, where officials also found human remains and two bottles of fat.

Colonel Jorge Mejia, chief of Peru's anti-kidnapping police, told reporters the trio admitted to the murder of five people - and to draining the corpses.

The men revealed one litre of human fat could fetch $15,000 (more than £9,000), he added.
Describing the grisly method of fat extraction, Col Mejia said the gang would cut off victims' heads and limbs, take out the organs and then hang the torsos above candles to heat the flesh - letting the fat drip into tubs below.

It was then sold on to intermediaries in Peru's capital Lima, before heading to cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies in Europe.

However, Col Mejia conceded police could not confirm any fat had been sold.

Medical experts have cast doubt on the trade of human fat but said it was used in anti-wrinkle treatments.
The fat is normally always taken from a living patient, usually from the stomach or buttocks.

"I can't see why there would be a black market for fat," said Dr Adam Katz, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Virginia medical school. "It doesn't make any sense at all, because in most countries we can get fat so readily and in such amounts from people who are willing and ready to donate that I don't see why there would ever be a black market for fat."

Peruvian authorities said at least six men remained at large - including alleged gang leader, Hilario Cudena.

One of the men in custody reportedly told police Cudena has been killing people for their fat for more than 30 years.


This is one of those movies that when it comes on, no matter what time of day or how far into it is, I'll watch it. It's just a damn good movie and the scene when they first hear their song played on the radio makes me smile every time.

"A man in a really nice camper wants to play our song on the radio! Give me a pen, I'm signing."

I checked YouTube for a video of the song and made the mistake of looking at the comments below, which is never a good thing. Searching YouTube comments always costs me about ten minutes of my life that I'll never get back and this time was no different.

There were people arguing, vehemently,  about whether or not this was a biographical movie. People were convinced that The Wonders were a real band and the comments got a little heated.

They were also convinced that Michael J. Fox was the second guitarist and "Faye was in Lord Of The Rings and the manager was Forrest Gump, but I don't know what else he's been in."

A lot of people missing the entire point of the "One Hit Wonder" theme of the movie, too.

But, as far as movies that I can watch multiple times over, this is near the top of the list. Apollo 13 is on there along with Predator, Point Break, The Big Lebowski and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It's a weird list. But what can I say? I've got a lot of time on my hands to watch movies over and over again.

What do you think? What are some of the most re-watchable movies?


I know everyone is probably sick of all of the Leno/Conan stuff, but there's still some great stuff coming out of it.

Never thought I'd become a fan of Jimmy Kimmel, but his performance the past week has sold me. And Letterman has been great as always, too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have no idea what this movie is about and I'd never heard of it before today. Apparently it's a Danish post-apocalyptic western. Don't really care what it's about. The poster sold me already.


I've been avoiding the vampire thing as much as possible. I saw Twilight because I had to review it for the paper last year (because no one else would go) but that's as far as I'm going to take it. I toyed with the notion of reading all of the books just so I could see if Breaking Dawn was as weird and laughably bad as I'd heard, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. Not even for a slightly funny blog post. Just wasn't worth the time.

I've never watched True Blood, either. Most of the shows on HBO are great, but I just never cared to try it out. The one vampire series I do read is Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt Casebooks. The first one is called Already Dead, then came No Dominion, Half The Blood of Brooklyn and the one I'm currently on, Every Last Drop. From the description, they sound like the cheesiest books ever written—Joe Pitt is basically a vampire private eye. But that's just where he starts. Charlie Huston has basically turned all of New York City into a vampire haven and created an entirely new world. That's the goal of most books, but this guy has actually planned out every minute detail from how they get the blood to the technical specifics of how the "Vyrus" as it's called, works. Good, hard-boiled crime fiction. Which I've always loved.

Started Every Last Drop a week ago and blazed right through it. Good stuff, but I'm kind of glad there's only one more book in the series. The broad themes seem to be repeating themselves which diminishes my interest a little bit.

On a side note, Googling "Every Last Drop" for a picture of the cover turned up a whole bunch of porn with that same title. That's some entertaining research, right there.

Also, yesterday I picked up a book called The Chill. It's a graphic novel—if you want to get all proper and pretentious—from Vertigo Crime. Vertigo usually puts out great stuff, but they just launched this new line that I'm really excited about. They're complete stories, but instead of the big pages like regular comics, they're the same size as the pulp hardcovers you might find at thrift stores or on the shelves of an antique shop.

I'm a huge fan of those kinds of books, but I'm more of a paperback guy. Every time I go to the D.I., Savers or any antique/consignment store I always look for those books and try to pick up at least one. They're usually only a dollar or two, but they're always great.

The Chill had some great quotes from a few of my favorite writers on the back, and even though I've never heard of the guy that wrote it I wanted to give it a shot. My goal for this year is to pick up a lot of comics that I've never heard of. Looking at my Best of '09 column (that's in City Weekly this week), I realized that most of the stuff I liked was from either Marvel or DC and I feel kind of bad for not checking out more unknown, indie stuff.

So you'll probably have a lot of comics-related posts to skip over in the next year. Or maybe you'll actually try a few of them out. I bet you'd like a couple.


Being vegan isn't hard. Never really has been.

The first couple of weeks were a little difficult, while I was still trying to figure out what I could eat and what I couldn't, but ever since then it's been a walk in the park.

Eating vegan in Peru? That seems like it might be a little bit tricky.

I'm going on a ten day trip to Peru in May. We're backpacking for a few days and heading to Machu Pichu. I've never been out of the country before (except for one amazing visit to Tijuana, Mexico) so I'm pretty excited. The only problem is that I have no clue how I'm going to eat for those two weeks.

Clint found a Peruvian restaurant in Bountiful that—either on their website or through word of mouth—was apparently vegan friendly. Casey wanted us to all kind of get used to eating Peruvian food, so we decided to cross the border going north and check it out.

Nathan and I are the only two of the 8 people going that are vegan, so at least I won't be alone in struggling to eat. But we were both pretty excited to try vegan Peruvian food. When we walked through the front door of MIA, we thought it was closed. There wasn't a single person visible inside and the only semblance of life was a TV in the corner showing a scrambled soap opera.

Two women poked their heads from the back and looked genuinely shocked to see the six of us. I'm not sure if the shock was to seeing customers in general or to seeing six heavily tattooed guys (well, 5 and me) walking through the front door. My guess is the former. It doesn't look like that place does too much business at all.

We sat down at the table and one of the women handed us menus. They were paper to-go menu's that doubled as a 10% off coupon. On the back of the menu was a whole section labeled "Vegan & Vegetarian" which excited both Nathan and I. We weren't going to have to worry about much. They also offered a vegan empanada that was buried inside the first page. It was a pretty good variety, too.

When the woman came over to take our order, she started with Nathan.
"I'll get the vegan Stir Fry and Chickpeas," he said.
The woman looked at him as though he'd just asked her to slaughter a cat and serve it to him. She said nothing.
Nathan pointed to the menu, which she immediately grabbed from his hand and walked away.
We all looked at each other in silence. A few seconds later, she came back.
"Okay," she said. And looked at me.
"I'll have the Broccoli with Chickpeas," I said.
Same look as before for a second or two before grabbing the menu and walking to the kitchen again.
She came back to the table and said, "We don't have broccoli."
Then I'll get the same thing that he got, and pointed to Nathan.
Everyone else ordered and Nathan tried to add one more thing.
"Can I get one of the vegan empanada's?"
A confused look while Nathan points to the menu.
"Oh. Chicken or beef?" she asked.
"No, the vegan one."
"Right. Chicken or beef?"

Now, I'm not one of those people that thinks every single restaurant should have a vegan option. I'm perfectly happy going to the places that already offer those and don't mind fending for myself when I'm the odd man out on vacations or trips.

That said, why would you even offer a vegan option if you have no plans of following through with actually keeping them on hand? Don't lure me places with the promise of delicious vegan options only to give me a "Oh, we don't actually have those. It's merely a formality." attitude. That bothers me.

Anyway, back to the story. Chickpeas are delicious and, while I was skeptical, I was actually looking forward to what I ordered. Then it came. She brought out both plates and set them down in front of Nathan and I and said, "Looks good?"
We both looked at her and agreed.
Then she walked away and we looked at each other and laughed.
What we had in front of us was a plate of spaghetti noodles and few thawed out and warmed up carrots and regular peas. Not a chickpea in sight.

Of course we ate it (Nathan more than me) but that doesn't mean we enjoyed it. Everyone else loved what they ordered (especially the ceviche) and counted the place as a success. Nathan and I spent most of the drive back discussing how we should probably ship as much ready-to-eat food to the hotel we're staying in the first night.

Because if we don't, I have a feeling we'll starve to death before the trip is over.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


"What's best in life, Conan?"

"To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."


Never been a huge Lynch fan but things could have gotten real wild.


I thought this was a joke. But it is, apparently, very, very real.

Warren -- "It’s Monty Python meets Nazi exploitation in a surreal nightmare as can only be imagined by Bizarro author Cameron Pierce.

In a land where black snow falls in the shape of swastikas, there exists a nightmarish prison camp known as Auschwitz. It is run by a fascist, flatulent race of aliens called the Ass Goblins, who travel in apple-shaped spaceships to abduct children from the neighboring world of Kidland. Prisoners 999 and 1001 are conjoined twin brothers forced to endure the sadistic tortures of these ass-shaped monsters. To survive, they must eat kid skin and work all day constructing bicycles and sex dolls out of dead children.

While the Ass Goblins become drunk on cider made from fermented children, the twins plot their escape. But it won’t be easy. They must overcome toilet toads, cockrats, ass dolls, and the surgical experiments that are slowly mutating them into goblin-child hybrids…"


Third time wasn't exactly a charm, and now they're starting all over.

I enjoyed the first Spider-Man movie, thought Spider-Man 2 was a million times better and didn't like the third one at all. I honestly had no opinion on the fourth one, except that I thought it would be fun to watch John Malkovich chew up scenery as The Vulture.

(side note - It is kind of funny that they approached Malkovich to play Green Goblin in part 1, but he turned it down because comic book movies were "beneath him" or something like that. 10 years later—after comic book movies have made billions of dollars, of course—he was all about being in one.)

Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were great movies, but they started a trend that I don't think is good for the comic-to-film genre as a whole. The gritty, seedy underworld aspect of Gotham City and that franchise works for Batman because he's more or less a pulp-hero with lots of gadgets. That's what he's always been. He's always had a dark edge to him and that's what made him more popular than some of the other characters.

But since those films were so popular, made truckloads of money and garnered critical praise all across the board, studios think that every comic book movie needs to have the same tone that they did.

And that's what Sony wants to do with this Spider-Man reboot. The word (via Hollywood Reporter and Slashfilm) is that the new Spider-Man script is "gritty, contemporary and references Batman Begins, seemingly not only in the sense that Christopher Nolan reinvented Batman on film, but in the sense of tone."

And this is a huge mistake. With Spider-Man 2, Sam Raimi established the perfect tone for the series. It was lighthearted and fun at times, emotional and funny at others and action packed the whole way through. There's even that 'Evil Dead-esque' scene where Dr. Octopus' arms come to life in the operating room, which was pure greatness. The bottom line though, was that everything made sense in the context of the story. They didn't try to make it gritty just for the sake of it being a little bit more "real."

When Superman Returns failed to meet expectations, Warner Brothers immediately went back to the drawing board looking for a reboot that was darker. Iron Man could have gone the same route, but instead, Favreau and Downey Jr. kept it fun and it worked brilliantly.

Too bad Spider-Man is going to be ruined by The Dark Knight. Damn you, Chris Nolan.

Monday, January 11, 2010


If you were unaware (and you might be, because I hardly ever mention it) I also write for/run a site called Remember that, because we'll get back to it in just a minute. But now, imagine a ripple effect as I go for a bit of a flashback...

For the better part of two years now I've been a huge fan of podcasts. I had no idea what they were when they first hit the Internet, but slowly I started coming around. Podcasts are kind of like radio shows, but there's no commercials (usually) and any idiot with a microphone and GarageBand can make one (remember that part, too).

The first one I heard was SModcast. It's Kevin Smith and his producer/best friend Scott Mosier basically shooting the shit for an hour or so each week. It's hilarious and I look forward to it each time it starts downloading. After that, I looked around for more. Most news sites have old broadcasts in podcast form, Ira Glass has This American Life, ESPN's Bill Simmons has The BS Report (which is a close second to SModcast, in my opinion) and so on.

At first I thought you had to have access to professional microphones and all kinds of technical stuff, because they were basically radio shows. Then smaller podcasts started showing up everywhere and a lot of them were done on the cheap by people I know. A Damn Podcast is great and so is The Geek Show Podcast. After I heard those, I realized that literally anyone could have their own podcast.

With that, we decided that GCA should jump on the bandwagon. Only problem was that Dan and I together tend to talk about things that only interest us, and while they're great conversations usually, they might get a little boring. So we needed a Wild Card, of sorts. Someone that would speak before thinking and had a completely different outlook on things. So we called The Big Dogg. And since then, he's been the lifeblood of GCAcast with his crazy theories and tall tales.

Dan wanted to go with more of a magazine/newscast style with a few news stories, a new song review and then a feature, and that's the format we've been running with. When he moved out to NYC, Sias came on board and we've been rolling with he, Casey and myself ever since.

This is where the ripple effect would start up again as we jump back to the present.

GCAcast 11 went up last week and you should check it out.

It's gotten some pretty solid reviews and great pull quotes like these:

"It's the most boring thing I've ever heard." - Danny Payne
"I've honestly never made it through an episode." - Brook Lund

So if you're interested in hearing three dudes wax intellectual on things that no one really cares about, then check it out. Each episode is an hour of your life that you will never get back.

We were born to waste your time.

GCAcast on iTunes


Yet another reason to avoid FOX News like the plague. But everyone involved with The Daily Show just got really, really excited.

"Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has signed on as a regular contributor with Fox News, the New York Times' Media Decoder blog is reporting:

The network confirmed that Ms. Palin will appear on the network’s programming on a regular basis as part of a multi-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ms. Palin will not have her own regular program, one person familiar with the deal said, though she will host an occasional series that will run on the network from time to time. This person would not elaborate, but the network does have a precedent for such a series. Oliver L. North is the host of an occasionally running documentary series on the military called “War Stories.”

The deal could be announced this afternoon."


I don't.

Gaurdian -- Aeroplanes will be too afraid to crash, yoghurts will wish you good morning before being eaten and human consciousness will be stored on supercomputers, promising immortality for all - though it will help to be rich.

These fantastic claims are not made by a science fiction writer or a crystal ball-gazing lunatic. They are the deadly earnest predictions of Ian Pearson, head of the futurology unit at BT.

'If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem,' Pearson told The Observer. 'If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you're poor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine. We are very serious about it. That's how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.'

Read More


Everyone else on the Internet is talking about this, and since I'm on the Internet, I feel like adding my two cents.

Conan is getting screwed with The Tonight Show on NBC and everyone knows it. His numbers may be bad, but it's because Leno's horrible 9 pm show is killing any potential lead in he would have had. (*In Salt Lake, Leno is at 9, local news at 10 and Conan/Tonight Show at 10:35. Letterman is on at 10:35, too.*) If they'd put Law & Order reruns on five nights a week before the news, it would have done better.

The sad thing is, that NBC is basically going to force Conan to either dumb his show down so that the majority of old people that liked Jay Leno's kiss-ass attitude and easy jokes will stay tuned in after his new half-hour show that they're giving him. Either that, or Conan is going to leave altogether.

And you know who's going to offer him a truckload of money to host a late-night show? Fox. And that will be awful. Fox has no idea what to do with a late-night show as evidenced by Chevy Chase, Magic Johnson and Arsenio Hall. Plus, Conan will have to go head to head with both Leno and Letterman. And he can only lose to both of those guys for so long before Fox gets pissed and gives him the boot, too.

*And as of about 10 minutes ago, while I was writing this, news broke that Conan had contacted Fox.

I really like Conan. I always have. He wrote a couple of the best Simpson's episodes ever (Marge vs. The Monorail and Homer Goes to College) and his Saturday Night Live sketches were the best at a time when SNL was having a bit of an identity crisis and nothing was really funny. I think he's been doing great work with the Tonight Show, but he was definitely far removed from what Leno's normal audience was used to.

I think Bill Simmons mentioned this earlier, and so far, it's the best bet. Conan should go to Comedy Central with an hour long show right after The Daily Show and Colbert Report. Now that's two hours of television that I'd watch night in and night out.

Here's a clip of Patton Oswalt (who I really like and admire) talking about the whole shake-up. Everyone else is doing it, right?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I don't even like boxing and I'd watch this fight the whole way through.

Too bad Mayweather is scared of hurting his reputation and losing his undefeated record. And just scared of Pacquiao in general.


Continuing the "versus" theme from earlier, I took both of these from Slashfilm (one of the only movie sites I read).

P.S. If I can't get an iPhone (because I couldn't bare to go back to AT&T), this looks like the next best thing. Therefore, I want one. Also, Blade Runner is an excellent movie and some of Harrison Ford's finest work.

Slashfilm -- Google have decided to call their new cellphone the Nexus One which suggests it’s a full five… er… Nexuses not as good as those naughty Replicants that gave Rick Deckard such trouble in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, filmed as Blade Runner. This comparison has not been lost on the estate of author Philip K. Dick who have launched a law suit against the company.

There are a great many other products and companies called Nexus this and Nexus that, from a Tyne and Wear subway system to a manufacturer of “custom designed plugs, jacks and switches”. The difference here is that Google have gone for Nexus ‘Number’ and, according to The Wall Street Journal, “the association between the phone and the book are cemented by the fact that the Nexus One runs Google’s Android operating system”. Yes - Android. I think that word is in the book too. Tsk.

Okay, so Google probably are trying to foster associations to Sheep but, really, isn’t this just a vague nod, never likely to confuse consumers into assuming an official endorsement? Should they really be forced to stump up heaps of cash for it? It’s not like a clothing manufacturer hawking Substance D branded “scramble” suits.


If someone were to say to me, "Trevor, what's one movie you are most looking forward to in 2010?" I'd probably respond with "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, I think."

Now, bear in mind that there are about 15-20 movies I'm excited for in 2010. Far more than 2009, in fact. Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3, Shutter Island, The Social Network, Kick-Ass and Inception among them. But Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World just  has the potential to be awesome.

It's based a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Scott is a 22-year-old hipster living in Canada who falls in love with the beautiful but mysterious Ramona Flowers. Unfortunately for Scott, the only way he can be with Ramona is to defeat her 7 Evil Ex-Boyfriends.

Michael Cera plays Scott Pilgrim and the Evil Exes are played by everyone from Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) to Jason Schwartzman (a bunch of great stuff, but notably Rushmore). To top it off, it's directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz).

It's just going to be a damn fun movie. The books are great, too. There's five of them out now and I think the last one comes out just before the movie does. It's manga style, so that might turn some people off initially, but I guarantee that they are worth reading.

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life - Vol. 1
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - Vol. 2
Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness - Vol. 3
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together - Vol. 4
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe - Vol. 5


I had an Intro to Film class when I was a junior in high school that I really liked. This was back in 1996-97 before anyone that wasn't incredibly rich knew how to use computers. We had to use a VHS to VHS editing machine and it was a tremendous pain in the ass. I found all those videos a while back and converted them to computer files so I could put them on the internet.

I'll post them here from time to time (when I'm feeling lazy and not in the mood to write anything substantial, most likely) so if you want to, give 'em a look.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Does it really matter if you break the single game scoring record (which is 211 set in 1964, by the way)? It's a high school team. These kids are supposed to be learning the fundamentals, not crushing spirits and embarrassing other teams. -- The Yates High School boys basketball team set a state record and set itself up for controversy Tuesday night at Butler Fieldhouse.
The Lions beat Lee High School 170-35, setting the single-game state scoring record. Hardin-Jefferson had owned the record of 166 points since 1992.
But the Lions' brush with history was marred by a second-half scuffle and questions of sportsmanship.
In the third quarter, a fight erupted after an intentional foul was called on a Lee player. After breaking up the fight, the referees told both coaches they would have to play just five players the remainder of the game. The other players for both teams spent the rest of the second half sitting in the stands.
“I feel very disrespected right now,” Lee coach Jacques Armant said. “I don't understand why Yates just kept scoring and pressing when they were up so much. These are kids. It isn't good to do that to other young men.”
Yates, which led 100-12 at halftime, is 14-0 this season and has won 39 consecutive games. The 100 points in the first half is also a state record and the second-most ever in a boys high school basketball game.
It was the eighth time this season Yates scored more than 100 points and the sixth time the Lions won by more than 60 . It was the first time this season Yates' margin of victory topped 100.
While the large margins of victory are turning heads, Yates coach Greg Wise said he isn't worried about his team's reputation.
The rest.


And now, finally, a little bit of good news from the film world. Since Hollywood has somehow completely run out of ideas (even though there are literally thousands of people writing screenplays and coming up with brilliant ideas, *coughlikemecough*), they've resorted to remaking great older movies.

I'm sure you've seen a few of them already and they probably won't stop any time soon.

There is a little bit of good news on the horizon, though—the remake of Robocop has been officially put on hold.

A number of reasons come in to play here, most notably that parent company MGM is in deep financial trouble. They've been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy for months now and two of their biggest projects are suffering a little because of it. The next installment of the James Bond franchise is in question as is a new Hobbit movie. Earlier this week, they said that Bond 23 had been put on hold then the very next day it was announced that Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) would be directing. And The Hobbit is expected to begin a 14-month production schedule this June for a Winter 2011 release.

So, in all reality, no one that's not involved in the actual process really knows what's going on with those. If the cameras start rolling, I'll get excited. Not for The Hobbit, though. I saw all three Lord Of The Rings movies once each, so I think I'm good. I don't need another one. A Mendes Bond film, though? Sold.

But that's not what I was talking about. Back to Robocop.

Apparently Mary Parent, the Chairperson of MGM wants the new Robocop to be 3-D. The director, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with "gimmick effects."

Who is attached to direct? Darren Aronofsky. You may remember him from such films as Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain and The Wrestler. That was the only upside to a Robocop remake for me. Love those movies or hate them, an Aronofsky Robocop picture would be something to see. But if those two can't work something out, and it kills the project entirely? I'll be just fine kicking back with the original Verhoeven version.


I don't remember the last time I saw an actual "concert." I've seen literally hundreds of bands play in my life, but for the past 8-10 years, every band I've seen has been at a small club, the basement of a house, someone's backyard, etc. I can't really think of the last time I saw a show that was bigger than Bricks/Club Sound/In The Venue could hold.

I think it may have been Muse, a little bit after Absolution came out. That was probably 2004, or so and it was at Saltair. I've never liked Saltair because the layout is terrible, the drive to the show is terrible and the parking lot situation is even worse. And I hate the guy that owns it, so I wouldn't go there anyway. Muse was the one band I was willing to break my self-imposed boycott for because I got the impression that they put on an amazing show—and they did. That was the last time I saw a band play in a place that was larger than 1200 people (though I have been to Warped Tour once since then, but that doesn't count).

The main reason for that is I've been spoiled watching indie/punk/hardcore bands for most of the past decade. The shows where you can actually see the band sweat and work to keep people interested without the vanity of a light show, props or anything like that is just so much more satisfying. Going to a big show that 20,000 other people are at just isn't fun anymore. That and there's very few bands that I'd be willing to plunk down more than $20 to see.

Back in the early 90s, I was all about the gigantic, epic shows. I saw Blind Melon open for Guns N Roses (which may or may not have changed my life), I saw Def Leppard and Ugly Kid Joe, Rage Against the Machine opening for U2 and The Rolling Stones (Seal opened that show—remember "Kiss From A Rose?"—and while I was looking at the back-up singers through binoculars, one of them moved around a little too quickly and her boobs fell out of her shirt. The guy in the row in front of me saw it too, and as soon as she covered up, he turned around excitedly. We were the only ones that noticed and high-fived the occasion. I was 13 and it was awesome).

Now that it's 2010? There's hardly anyone that I would overpay along with tens of thousands of others to see. But there is a short list of those that I would pay just about anything to see.

1) Bruce Springsteen - I just imagine that a Springsteen show would be so energetic and so much fun that passing up an opportunity would be completely stupid. VH1 was showing "Springsteen live in Rio" a few months ago and I switched the channel to catch a couple of songs and ended up watching the whole thing. It was amazing. Being there would probably make it that much better, too.

2) Soundgarden - I talked about them a bit earlier, but they are one of my all time favorites. I never saw Nirvana and missed Alice in Chains (the real Alice in Chains with Layne Staley), but I did catch Pearl Jam. Every other Seattle grunge band, I missed too. I think Kim Thayil is one of the best guitarists around and say what you will about Chris Cornell, but that dude can sing. I'm glad he finally put that Audioslave/James Bond theme/Scream bullshit to rest, because Like I said a few posts earlier, I want to hear "Slaves & Bulldozers" and "The Day I Tried To Live" played live at a volume my ears will not be able to handle.

3) Metallica/Megadeth/Anthrax/Slayer - This was a rumored tour package from late last year and I was ready to buy tickets when news hit the Internet. I've never seen any of these bands, and on their own I would probably skip the show, but all together? There's no telling what kind of crazy, violent rioting would happen. I'd be stupid not to go.

That's about it. Those are the three shows I would risk a bro-mosh with shirtless, sweaty dudes jumping into each other for.

Springsteen skips SLC every time, the Thrash Metal Superstars of Yesteryear Tour isn't happening and Soundgarden is likely only playing festivals, so I'll probably never see any of them. But a guy can dream, right?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Once we were back on the road away from everything, the mood began to lighten. We always have fun in Redlands (as mentioned before) so we were excited to see some familiar faces and have some fun. The drive was about 4 hours long, but went fairly quickly once we were on our way. We were still pissed at Bryan (and most of Oubliette) but tempers had calmed down a little and we were confident that the rest of the shows—while they probably wouldn’t be amazing—would be better than any that we’d played on the tour so far.

As we got closer to Redlands, Brook started making phone calls looking for something to do and somewhere to eat. Sure enough Baker’s was the place to be. Baker’s is amazing to someone like me. It’s a fast food place, but it has vegan tacos and vegan burgers—not to mention French Fries, which if it were up to me would be the only thing I ate. Well, that and Lays potato chips. We made a beeline for the Baker’s, ate and made our way to Loomis’ house to crash for the night.

The next day we did what we do best on tour, and that is a whole lot of nothing. French Fry burritos from Cuca’s and fancy sodas from Gerald’s were how we spent most of the afternoon. The show was to be at Tithemi (Thom’s church) again, but we still had a few hours before the show.

Then Brook got a text from Davin.
“Oubliette broke up,” he said.
We were all surprised for a collective 5 seconds.
“That makes sense,” Clint said.
"So what happened?" I asked.

Here’s what happened. We thought tensions were high between Bryan and us, but apparently that was nothing compared to what the tension between everyone in Oubliette was. When it comes down to it, it makes perfect sense. They’d never been on tour before and they dive right in to a full U.S. trek that keeps falling apart piece by piece. That will take a toll on you for sure.

After sitting around Fresno for a while before realizing they weren’t going to play at all, they found somewhere to spend the night. The next day as they were driving through the desert just south of Fresno, the engine in their van blew up. Someone came and looked at it and determined that it was a total loss. They were towed to a wrecking yard and sold the van for parts—and made a whopping $150. They were 2,400 miles from home with no form of transportation, no band money and skyrocketing tempers. Both guitar players and the bass player loaded all their equipment onto a Grayhound bus, bought plane tickets and flew home. Davin, Ben and Bryan got a ride down to Redlands and came to the show that night.

None of us were surprised and actually kind of relieved that we weren’t going to have to deal with them anymore. And as much as Clint still wanted to punch Bryan in the face, he held off. Figured he’d been through enough for one day.

The show that night was the most fun we’d had all tour so far. Can’t really remember anything else. We still had another day in the Inland Empire before our show in Corona the next night, so there were more French Fry burritos and fancy sodas to be had. And I never have a problem with that.

The further adventures of Cherem's past, as updated every six months or so, can be found at Until My Heart Stops.


And it's all the same.

Old News Records is closing up shop (that's the bad news). It was fun to do while it lasted, but no one really buys CD's anymore. It ended up being fiscally irresponsible (sounds professional, right?) for me to spend money printing CD's and trying to sell them to people that were going to go home, upload the songs to their computer and then throw rest of it away.

I realize I only put out two albums (Tamerlane and Up River) and it may seem like I didn't really try all that hard. Truth is, I didn't.

I didn't want to put forth a whole lot of effort into promoting bands that only 7 people remember and hope that more will be willing to plunk down their hard earned money to take a chance on something they may not even like.

And with the internet, all those songs were going to end up out there for everyone to hear before I could get around to doing it, anyway. Which was the whole point in the first place.

But with this minor downside, there is a massive upside (here comes the good news).

If you weren't aware, I also run a site called Grudge City Activities. It's a hardcore news blog with a heavy focus on the history of Salt Lake City hardcore. But there's a lot of other stuff, too—show videos, a podcast, photos, polls, etc. It's a cool site, and if you haven't checked it out, do that now.

One of the things we've been doing is compiling a massive archive of Salt Lake hardcore bands and Old News Records is basically being folded into this and losing the clever name. Plus, everything in the archive is 100% free. You can't pass that up. And it's far more appealing than charging you $5 for a CD you've never heard of.

I'm going to hold off on putting the Tamerlane and Up River stuff up in the archive just yet, because I still have quite a few copies. I'll still bring them around to shows that Collapse and Tamerlane play, so if you want a physical copy, come by and pick one up.

More importantly, I'll probably take a few copies of each (and a few copies of both Cherem albums and the 7") to the new Raunch Records in Sugarhouse. If you really want one, go there to get it. That guy deserves your support more than I do, so if you haven't been by yet do it today. Or tomorrow. Or every other day you have a chance to.

So thanks everyone for checking out the ONR releases, and thanks to everyone (Candace of CandaceJean for the awesome logo that I'm definitely going to keep for nostalgic purposes, especially) that helped me out in one way or another.

But head over to the GCA Music Archive to download some awesome (and free, did I mention free?) music.