Central Snark


Movie Tuesday with Diesel by mattresspolice
Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 9:28am
Filed under: flix, Pop! goes the Diesel

DieselSo it seems that I’m making a regular habit of deserting my loyal Mattress Police readers to post here on Tuesdays. And I seem to be writing about movies a lot. We should think of a clever name for this feature. Something reminiscent of sitting at home on a Saturday night with a good DVD spinning in the player. I know: Saturday Spin! I hope that’s not taken. Oh well, I’m sure Snuppy will come up with something if it is.

This week I thought I would share with you my plan for preserving American dominance in the realm of cinema. You may be aware that countries other than the United States occasionally make movies — often in foreign languages that are hard to understand — like Trainspotting or Miami Vice. Now I realize that some of you are from non-American countries, so you may not entirely sympathize with my Hollywood-centric view of movies. So let me say right off the bat (a bat is like a stick) that I don’t particularly care about your Sense and Sensibility-style movies where stiff-necked people click-clack around big dreary houses talking about how they’ve been shamed or will be shamed, or plan on shaming someone for once shaming their little sister during a game of shame-around-the rosey. As my wife once said about Sense and Sensibility, “I thought this was Pride and Prejudice.” My thoughts exactly.

Anyway, you can keep your movies about shame and angst and moral ambiguity. My concern is with what I call “real movies,” which center on explosions, fistfights, and marital infidelity as titillation and/or plot device. I am worried that with the popularity of such movies as Casino Royale and The Transporter and the implosion of Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson, the U.S. is in danger of losing its dominance in the realm of real movies (or cinema realite, as I call it).

The problem is that these movies are terrifically expensive to make, especially if you need to coax someone important like The Rock or Fifty Cent into playing the lead rather than relying on cheap foreign imports like Daniel Craig or Clive Owen. I’m afraid that if our big action movies continue to tank, Hollywood is going to stop making them, and pretty soon I’ll be forced to watch that crap from Hong Kong that Quentin Tarantino won’t shut up about. So what we need is a way to make these movies more affordable to produce, so that Hollywood can churn out more of them, thereby increasing the odds that at least a few really kick-ass movies will be released a year.

My solution: Product branding. Sure, we already have product placement and movie tie-ins, but I’m talking about taking it to a whole new level. We build the whole movie around a product or brand, and even include the brand name in the title. There’s no need for this to reduce the quality of the films; with a little care I’m sure we can maintain the films’ artistic integrity while paying top dollar for the best explosions money can buy.

For example, if studios had implemented this strategy over the past several decades, you might have seen movies such as:

  • BMW: The Ultimate Driving Miss Daisy Machine
  • The Husqvarna Chainsaw Massacre
  • Winchester’s To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Like Water for Hershey’s Chocolate
  • ABC Presents: Network
  • Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean (Ok, this one’s a bit ridiculous)
  • Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion of the Christ
  • Los Angeles Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Twister
  • American Express History X
  • Sears Die Hard
  • Hey Mikey, It’s a Wonderful Life!

Any other suggestions? Hollywood is listening.

~Diesel

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Charlie Didn’t Get Much Huey Lewis by mattresspolice
Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 9:34am
Filed under: flix, music music, Pop! goes the Diesel

diesel avatarAT first we wondered if it was such a good idea to ask our clever friend DIESEL to be a regular contributor for the Snark — not because we don’t love and/or admire him, for we do, we really do — but let’s face it, when it comes to “content”, he doesn’t approach his posts like All the Other Kids in the Blogosphere do. Then we realized that’s exactly why we want and/or need to have this guy around. Seriously folks, every time we peruse one of Diesel’s Clever Offerings (including the one you’re about to read), we find ourselves in a state of amazement/fascination/amusement. In other words, he makes us scratch our heads, study the dandruff as it slides off our shoulders before landing on the hardwood floor we’re standing on, and laugh and laugh and laugh, even as we make a note to remind ourselves to pick up another bottle of Nizoral. Ya just can’t put a price on something like that, which is good, since we wouldn’t pay him if he did.

THAT said, being the self-proclaimed TRAFFIC WHORE Diesel is, it’d be nice if everyone popped over to his SITE at some point today, if only to encourage him to show up here again, next week (we’re thinkin’ Tuesday).

* * * * * * * *

Most of you have probably heard by now about the odd synchronicity between the movie The Wizard of Oz and the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here for a quick primer. Basically, if you play The Wizard of Oz with the sound turned down while listening to Dark Side of the Moon and chanting “There’s no place like home” three times, Roger Waters will mysteriously appear in your living room to blame David Gilmour for screwing up reunion tour plans.

Ok, that part isn’t true, but you will notice some eerie coincidences that can only be explained by appealing to supernatural forces beyond our understanding. Not to mention a lot of pot, and probably bootleg copies of the collected works of Judy Garland at Syd Barrett’s flat.

Anyway, I got to wondering whether there were any other movie/album juxtapositions that produced trippy, mind-blowing effects beyond the level that can be explained by a 56″ HD TV, Surround Sound and three shots of Patron. So I tried various combinations from my DVD and CD collections and was amazed at what I discovered. Some of the albums were significantly shorter than the films, so I had to play them in a loop to get the desired effect.

Apocalypse Now / Huey Lewis and the News: Fore!

  • Captain Willard’s reflections on his existential imprisonment in Vietnam coincide perfectly with the ominous strains of “Stuck with You.”
  • Briefing regarding Kurtz’s impressive military career is underscored by “Hip to Be Square.” Particularly eerie are the photographs of Kurtz in various locations around the world, set to the lyrics, “Here, there, everywhere… Hip, hip, hip to be square.”
  • Napalm strike occurs as “Forest for the Trees” begins.
  • Kurtz’s spiritual seduction of Willard is puncuated with eerie precision by “Doing it All for My Baby.”

Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut / Asia: Greatest Hits

  • While Rachael insists that she is not a replicant, “Lying to Yourself” plays teasingly in the background.
  • Deckard’s apology to Rachael for accusing her of being a machine coincides with these lyrics from “Heat of the Moment”:

I never meant to be so bad to you
One thing I said that I would never do
One look from you and I would fall from grace
And that would wipe this smile right from my face

  • As Deckard watches Roy Batty die on in the rain, the melancholy chords of “Sole Survivor” begin.

Deliverance / Def Leppard: Hysteria

  • “Animal” plays during the “squeal like a pig” scene. Instead of “he’s got a real pretty mouth,” we hear Joe Elliot wailing “Cry wolf, given mouth to mouth….” As the half-naked Bobby stumbles back to his compatriots, the mournful strains of “Love Bites” sound. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is heard as Bobby reflects on his ordeal.
  • As Lewis kills a mountain man, who may or may not be one of Bobby’s tormentors, “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” plays ominously:

Don’t shoot shotgun
You got me bitin’ my lip
Don’t shoot shotgun!
Ya shootin’ straight from the hip

  • As events escalate, “Hysteria” ensues. Finally, when the river floods, obliterating any trace of their adventures, we hear the strains of “Armageddin’ It.”

That’s all the time I had for my little experiment before post time, but tonight I’m planning to find out tonight if Hitchcock’s Notorious can be improved by the eponymous Duran Duran album. Stay tuned.

~Diesel



Film Appreciation(ish) by Snuppy
Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 9:59am
Filed under: flix

LET the following serve as a reminder to one and all about the potential pitfalls of posting late at night when sleep deprivation is already an issue.

LAST WEEK, we were very entertained by a POST submitted by our friend, and cohort, DIESEL. But before we get to that clever post (or this attempt at one), quick question: if Diesel is our cohort, does that make us horts? What the hell is a hort, anyway? And, since Diesel’s all about increasing traffic to his website, and we seem bent on doing the same thing, does that make us cowhores, as well? All things we wonder about when we can’t sleep and/or come up with a topic to snark about on any given day. But wait! Don’t look now, not only did we just digress, we took a U-turn at the entrance to this blog and wound up right back where we started. Talking about an entertaining post submitted by our friend and cohort/cowhore, uh… Diesel. And this post isn’t even about Diesel and/or his post, let alone horts and/or whores (“co” and/or otherwise). It’s about film appreciation-ish-ness. Sort of.

TODAY marks the 113th anniversary of the first film copyright, which was secured by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, in 1894 (which you’d know if you’d bothered to do the math). Relevant to nothing, mind you, nonetheless it is mildly interesting. And don’t you just know we’d love to show you what that riveting bit of “copyrighted” cinematography looked like, especially since it was 47 images of a man sneezing? Unfortunately, that film has yet to find its way into public domain and/or on to YouTube, which means we’re SOL.

THAT said, we find ourselves in the pleasant position of being able to offer an interesting peek at 90 seconds, or so, of pretty darn cool animated projections — or “Pantomimes Lumineuses” as they’re known around film school. Titled “Autour D’une Cabine” (Around the Bathing Hut), this hand painted beauty, was also released in 1894, by Émile Reynaud, the man who invented the PRAXINOSCOPE* — which, according to that article (we can’t bring ourselves to read), was a device used to create this kind of animation. Appréciez(ish)!

*Do us a favor, will ya? Read the article up there then come back here and tell us what a “praxinoscope” is. That’s not to say we didn’t try to figure it out for ourselves, but we kind of fell asleep while we were researching/writing this thing, and we just didn’t have time to bother with details like, what exactly it was we were writing about. At the moment, “praxinoscope” sounds like something used for a colonoscopy, but that can’t be right.

~snuppy



The Year in Film, Snark Style by mattresspolice
Thursday, 4 January 2007, 9:32am
Filed under: flix, Pop! goes the Diesel

diesel avatarIMAGINE OUR SURPRISE. Well, not so much “surprise”, as amusement. Well, not so much “amusement”, as glee. Well, not so much “glee”, and consternation. Well, okay, so we don’t know what the hell we were, but that’s beside the point. The point, for we so desperately want to have one, is that one bright and cheery day, a certain young man popped his greasy/money-grubbing nose into the Snark Park, tried to get his hands on Princess James’ fortune before we could chase him away with our brooms and/or dust-busters, and we haven’t been able to get rid of him, since. Not that we want to. We’re speaking (in that annoyingly halting fashion of ours) of DIESEL, as clever/funny and, yes, snarky a guy as we have ever had the pleasure to know, read, and/or beg to contribute as many clever thoughts/witticisms/words as he can spare to our humble blog.

WHEN you go visit him at his own humble-yet-hilarious blog, MATTRESS POLICE, try not to be too put off by some of his links and/or blatant/whorish-yet-hilarious attempts to boost his own readership. Some of those links — which, like a couple of his posts, appear to be (gasp) misogynistic — are actually pretty damn funny, and his blatant/whorish-yet-hilarious attempts to drive people to his blog is something we happen to find… endearing. But then, like the cheap dates we are, we’re easy to please. ~snuppy

* * * * *

When I began my blogging career not too long ago one of the first sites that I came across in my quest for kindred spirits whom I could cynically manipulate to increase my traffic was Central Snark. This, I thought, was my kind of site. First of all, it was Central. No more breaking down in a bad section of the Interweb looking for a quick fix of gratuitous sarcasm. No driving to Modesto and cruising 9th Street for half an hour searching for a woman who really understands me only to find that I’m the lucky guy to put “Jolene” over the top in her goal to raise $18,000 for the operation. Central Snark was conveniently located practically right outside my front door, much like the gaping septic pipe trench that I have to step over sixteen times a day.

Second, it was Snark. I dig snark. Snark is my middle name. Honestly, it’s my grandmother’s maiden name. Originally it was Stark, but there was a mix-up at Ellis Island.

At last I had found a site that really spoke to me. And what’s really great is that it’s run by some very nice ladies. I mean, just super nice. Like your aunt who used to give you cookies and whiskey shots when your mom wasn’t watching. That nice. So nice, in fact, that occasionally they forget to be snarky. I suggested that they change the name of the site to CentralNiceLadies.com, but it turns out that domain is already taken by some ladies who seem nice, but more in the manner of your uncle who used to want you to play hide-and-seek with him in his El Camino.

So they came to me and said, “Hey Diesel, you’re kind of a jerk. Why don’t you write something super-snarky for us, so that the Snark Bureau doesn’t yank our snark license?” And I was like, yeah, whatever, because I’m kind of a jerk.

Anyway, I asked what I should write about and they said, “Write what you know.” Well, that was all the inspiration I needed. I jotted down:

If your computer freezes up, do not put it in the microwave to “thaw it out.”

The nice ladies were so thrilled with this brillaint missive that they suggested that I “flesh it out” a bit by adding some stuff I didn’t know, and maybe taking out the stuff that I did know.

So I decided to write about the top ten most overrated movies of 2006. The problem is that while I have a 56″ TV, I also have no life, which means that I know a lot about the overrated movies of 2005 but very little about those of 2006. Since it’s a bit late to tell you that Murderball was not, in fact, a sequel to the brilliant 2002 dystopian L.L. Cool J epic Rollerball, I’ve decided to imagine how disappointing the movies of 2006 would have been if I had seen them.

The Queen – Am I the only one who thought they totally ripped off The Crying Game?

Letters from Iwo Jima – The letters are, predictably, a, i, j, m, o and w.

United 93 – I just didn’t understand the motivations of the terrorists. And why did they have to be Arabs?

V for Vendetta – It’s just hard to sympathize with a character who only has one facial expression. And shaving her head didn’t improve matters.

Superman Returns – They never explained why Clark Kent and Superman just happened to return at exactly the same time. Also, the two actors looked so much alike that sometimes the only way I could tell them apart was the glasses. Just plain confusing.

Babel – Couldn’t understand a word.

The Departed – Very funny. An empty theater and no movie. Ha ha, you got me.

An Inconvenient Truth – Disappointingly convenient.

Rocky Balboa – A Rocky robot traveling back in time to kill Sylvester Stallone before Rocky V gets made? Who didn’t see that coming?

Casino Royale – I don’t get why James Bond always has to be British. It’s like they don’t even give American actors a chance. Like Britain has anybody who could go toe-to-toe with The Rock.

So what about you? What movies were you disappointed with in 2006? Or might you have been disappointed with, had you seen them?

~Diesel