Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Can Someone Please Explain to Me How These are Kids Shows?

Published by Natty


OK let’s face it. Kids shows are really weird. Sometimes beyond weird. I for one as an adult have tried my best to stop understanding why a teletubby has so much appeal to a 3 year old. I’ve stopped pondering why the penis-like nose of a Sponge Bob or whacky voice of Barney holds the attention of kids.

Unless our children are in fact aliens from another planet eventually planning to take our world, which seems like a more plausible explanation to me. Whatever it is, children’s shows are pretty freaky to me.

And not only weird and scary, pretty inappropriate as well. Here are 8 videos to prove my point. The fact that these are actual shows (and movies) baffles me.

Teletubby Accidental Porn


Japanese Toilet Training

What? WHAT?

British Television Show “Rainbow”

Now this is how you learn to get ass.

Kids Incorporated

If you go on a date and it’s paid for? You owe the guy sex, period.

The Sponge Bob Ones

Check out the one where he licks the sand.

Ok, What the hell is this? Wiggles?

This just gave me nightmares.

Some Creepy Clay Video That was Banned

How in the world could any kid enjoy this?

Little Mermaid Erection

I don’t know how they slipped that in there, but it’s damned funny

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Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing

Elliott smith figure 8 coverFive years ago today, on October 21, 2003, Elliott Smith died. The intentions behind his death still not been confirmed, but some time that day, Elliott met the Big Nothing.

Born Steven Paul Smith in Omaha, Nebraska, he grew up in Texas and Oregon. In high school, he began calling himself, "Elliott" as he felt that Steven was too "jock-like." The changing of his name was a pattern that he repeated throughout his life. He would assume the appearance of something and then he would become it. For instance, long before he became a drug addict, he wrote songs about being a drug addict. Before his death, he wrote many songs about committing suicide.

He was always musical, even writing songs when he was a child. In high school, he was in his first band, Stranger than Fiction. Later, he was in the band Heatmiser with his friend Neil Gust. During this time, he held a number of odd jobs including being a baker and a chimney sweep. Though Heatmiser became moderately successful, he felt creatively unfulfilled by the work -- feeling that he was playing music he didn't even like. His dissatisfaction brought an end to the band.

Elliot sittingHe released his first solo album, Roman Candle, in 1994. In 1998, his song, "Miss Misery" from Good Will Hunting nominated for an Oscar. He appeared in the awards telecast, and was mocked for his performance and his white suit.

Subsequently, he released albums, and grappled with his higher profile, his problems with drugs and depression. In 2002, he went to someplace called the Neurotransmitter Restoration Center to receive a treatment involving IV bags of saline solution and amino acids to cleanse his system (this treatment has not been approved by the FDA.)

Elliott Smith had a tattoo of Ferdinand the Bull (from a popular children's book about a bull who, rather than fight, enjoyed sitting on a hillside, smelling the flowers), a symbol to him, of someone who wanted to live outside the expectations of the world. It was an admirable desire, even if it wasn't so easily accomplished. It endeared him to Indie kids all over the world, but especially those in his newly adopted home, Echo Park, an up and coming neighborhood near the hipster enclaves of Los Feliz and Silver Lake.

In 2003, Elliott Smith was clean and ramping up to the release of his next album. In his last interview, he seemed cheerful and upbeat. A couple of accounts of his last shows were that he was not only lacking (Elliott Smith shows were always feast or famine; sometimes they were transcendent, other times he muttered and forgot lyrics, played chords with a ham-fist) but that he seemed vague and distracted, like he wasn't quite there anymore.

heart-figure-eight.jpgOn October 21, 2003, Elliot's live-in girlfriend, Jennifer Chiba, emerged from the shower of their Echo Park home when she heard Elliott scream, found him in the kitchen with two stab wounds to the chest. She pulled the knife out and called 911. Initial findings indicated suicide, but there were no hesitation marks and there were tiny cuts on his hands that could be construed as defensive wounds. When the coroner refused to call it a suicide, Chiba stopped talking about the circumstances surrounding his death. The case is not yet closed.

We may never know which demons plagued Elliott Smith in the last moments of his life, but he left us with a treasure trove of dreamy, sad music, a rich legacy to a world he seemed to have such difficulty navigating.

We remember you, Elliott Smith.

Go to the Figure 8 Wall, where fans can pay their respects.
4334 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California.

Photos via Wikipedia.

Six Must See Movies in 2009

by Larson Hill

Now that 2008 is winding down to a close with just over two months of movie goodness left to go at the box-office, we can look ahead to see a new crop of theatrical releases on the 2009 horizon. In fact, from what we can tell, 2009 is looking like an awesome year at the movies. If all goes well, moviegoers will see the holy grail of comic books come to life on the big screen, the return of James Cameron, a healthy balance of fantasy and sci-fi, and another Terminator movie this time without Arnold even though he said he’ll be back.

Although there are a slew of movies we’re looking forward to in 2009, and we will see, there are six that we’ve narrowed down to fit into the "must see" category.

Movies everyone will see in 2009 unless a meteor hits the planet:

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
Star Trek
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

Movies we wish or hope to see in 2009:

Killing Pablo
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Movies you should see in 2009:

Shutter Island
State of Play

Movies we’re still mulling over:


Six must see movies in 2009

Taken - January 23, 2009 (Directed by Peter Morel, written by Luc Besson)

Have you seen the trailer for Taken? If not, go here. Originally scheduled to hit theaters in 2008, Taken got pushed back to January 2009 and it’s going to be an awesome way to kick off the New Year. When a group of sex traffickers kidnap two young girls vacationing in Paris, they have no clue one of them is the daughter of a former CIA agent. Starring Liam Neeson, Famke Jansen, Maggie Grace, Xander Berkely, and Katie Cassidy, Taken will fill whatever void that you’re still left with after the last Bourne movie. With the cinematographer of The Transporter movies behind the camera and a story co-written by Luc Besson, Taken is cut from a similar action mold with non-stop intensity. The movie that originally sold me on Liam Neeson was the 1986 action drama A Prayer for the Dying in which Neeson played a member of the IRA. Now, with over 20 years of big screen success behind him, playing an ex-CIA hell bent on rescuing his daughter from sex traffickers is going to (sort of) take Neeson back to where he started from an opposite angle. Expect a ton of action and ass-kicking at a breakneck pace.

Why you should see it: It’s going to feel like The Bourne Identity meets The Transporter meets Commando. Happy New Year!

Inglorious Bastards - June 2008 (Directed by Quentin Tarantino)

We know it’s Quentin Tarantino and his movies always make for unusual retro rides, but Inglorious Bastards has a really weird curiosity factor going for it in the cast department. Tarantino’s known for assembling odd and unexpected actors for his movies, but this one might be the strangest of all. What started out as a remake of The Dirty Dozen only to be turned into a World War II epic inspired from an Italian movie about a group of Nazi killers known as "The Bastards" fighting inside the front lines of France, Inglorious Bastards boasts a cast that includes Brad Pitt, Mike Myers, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, B.J. Novak, and Cloris Leachman, among a slew of others. Can you close your eyes and try to picture a scene with Brad Pitt, Mike Myers, and Eli Roth? That’s what I’m talking about. I’m willing to bet that back in 1967 with The Dirty Dozen, no one could picture Lee Marvin, ex-NFL great Jim Brown, Mexican singer/dancer Trini Lopez, and Telly Savalas together in one film.

Why you should see it: Aside from seeing what type of lunacy Tarantino can get out of Pitt, Myers, and Roth, some words used to describe the script and story have been "over-the-top", "insane", and "bat-shit".

Where the Wild Things Are - October 16, 2009 (Directed by Spike Jonze)

If you’re not familiar with Maurice Sendak’s best selling fantasy pictorial book of the same name, check it out before 2008 comes to a close. Trust me, it won’t take you long but you’ll be glad you did. If you ever got sent to your room for not eating your supper when you were a kid, you’ll be able to relate to the fantasy world the young lead character Max creates for himself behind closed doors. It’s a weird and wonderful world where Max presides over a forest filled with fantastically bizarre creatures. Now that the Jackass guys have cashed in on their extreme fifteen minutes and are finally giving their bodies a rest, Spike Jonze at last makes his return to the feature film director’s chair for the first time since helming Adaptation. This time he’s tackling a live action adaptation of the classic fantasy tale with a cast that includes Forest Whitaker, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara, and newcomer Max Records. Although the film was supposed to hit theaters in 2008, and Jonze had to deal with several reshoot issues that almost derailed the project, Where the Wild Things Are got back on track in mid-2008... and we’re glad it did.

Why you should see it: It’ll make up for lost time and the dollars spent on The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins - May 29, 2009 (Directed by McG)

Sure we all got pumped when it was announced that another Terminator movie was coming down the pike, but it wasn’t until Christian Bale hopped onboard the project that everyone began to take it seriously. Although Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was the last in the franchise to feature the Arnie "The Governator" Schwarzenegger, The Sarah Connor Chronicles proved that the Terminator franchise was alive and well in the post-Arnold era. With Bale in the role of John Connor and McG with a budget in the vicinity of a James Cameron-like $200 million, Terminator Salvation also features a powerful army of acting machines such as Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Helena Bonham Carter, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Common, and Michael Ironside. As far as talent in the Terminator movies is concerned, the Salvation cast looks to be the strongest of the entire franchise. Also, in case you don’t know, both the visual effects and action are in the hands of Charles Gibson, the same guy who did both on all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Why you should see it: To see Christian Bale as John Connor lead the human resistance. And, if all happens to go south, to be able to say fifty years in the future that you remember where you were when the Terminator franchise died.

Avatar - December 18, 2009 (Directed by James Cameron)

After two decades in development hell, James Cameron is finally bringing the deeply complex futuristic epic Avatar to the big screen. When you think back to what it took for him to make Titanic, the highest grossing movie of all time, it’s easy to understand why Cameron stepped away from feature films to direct, produce, and explore a number of real life mysteries like Expedition Bismark, Ghost of the Abyss, Aliens of the Deep, and The Exodus Decoded. If you’re not familiar with Avatar, it might be a good idea to avoid as much info as possible. Starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerland, and Wes Studi, Avatar is about a wounded ex-marine who’s sent to another planet to plunder its richly diverse ecosystem but finds himself at a crucial moral crossroads with his objective and the inhabitants of the planet. That’s really all you need to know. It’s a story on the scale of the famous Edgar Rice Burroughs novel John Carter of Mars. Now that James Cameron is back to directing huge Hollywood blockbusters after a ten-year hiatus, Avatar could possibly set the stage for a new era of amazing sci-fi cinema.

Why you should see it: Hello! James Cameron gave us The Terminator and Terminator 2, Aliens, The Abyss, and Titanic. Since sci-fi is Cameron’s specialty and with a $200 million budget, do really think this is going to suck? For now it's safe to say, "Uhh... no!"

Watchmen - March 6, 2009 (Directed by Zack Snyder)

Like comic book geeks really need a reason to see Watchmen. You know you’re going anyway. For the virgins who aren’t familiar with long awaited big screen adaptation of Alan Moore’s revered graphic novel, you’ll be going to see it anyway. You just don’t know it yet. It’s funny that the film’s tagline "Who watches the Watchmen?" has a strange real life echo to it since by the time 2009 rolls around the answer could be no one at all. If Warner Bros. and Fox don’t settle up their legal war over the ownership of rights to Watchmen, it could be delayed indefinitely. Still, we’re sticking to schedule along with director Zack Snyder who’s pushing forward with the film despite the current legal battle. It’s taken years for Watchmen to find its way to the big screen and I don’t know one comic book geek who isn’t dying to see it. Although creator Alan Moore isn’t dying to see it at all, there’s no denying the fact that fans are counting down the days until the holy grail of geekdom hits theaters.

Why you should see it: A - I shouldn’t have to tell you. B - To give Zack Snyder the respect he deserves for putting his head on the comic chopping block.

-- Larson Hill

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Ten Baseball Movies That Belong in the Hall of Fame

“The one constant through all the years…has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past…. It reminds us of all that once was good and could be again.” When James Earl Jones delivers these lines as writer Terence Mann near the end of Field of Dreams it solidifies the fact that baseball is woven into the fabric of our national consciousness. Simply put, baseball is America (and vice versa). With this in mind, we here at the MovieRetriever offices have put together a list of our favorite films about America’s pastime. We began our compilation by thinking about not only films that featured “baseball” but also about movies that treated baseball as a character. We quickly realized that those that fell into the later category were the ones we liked best and ultimately shifted our focus to them. So, on the eve of this year’s Fall Classic, please enjoy MovieRetriever’s picks for the greatest baseball movies of all time:


1. Bull Durham (1988)

Arguably the best all-around baseball movie ever made. Even if you’re not a fan of the game, you’ll find something that will appeal to you here. There’s a love story – Kevin Costner is fantastic as the aging minor-leaguer Crash Davis who woos baseball groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon). There’s a buddy film as Crash mentors the young phenom Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins). And, of course, there’s plenty of baseball. But the real beauty of the treatment of the game in Bull Durham is that it never overpowers the characters or their stories. It simply exists within the world of the film. The film seamlessly allows the game to take on the persona of an allegory for life.


2. Field of Dreams (1989)

If you don’t feel some sort of emotion at the end of this sublime adaption of W.P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe when Ray (Costner again) has a game of catch with his father then there’s just no hope for you. This incredibly layered and intelligent take on baseball as fable seems to have consistent universal appeal and, surprisingly, never really focuses on the actual game. It’s all about relationships and personal journeys. When the disembodied ghost of Shoeless Joe (Ray Liotta) tells Ray “If you build it, he will come,” baseball successfully transcends mere pastime and becomes obsession. Ultimately, it ends as do most fairy tales – happily ever after.


3. The Natural (1984)

Barry Levinson’s gorgeous film treats baseball as myth and there has never been a more romantic portrayal of baseball captured on film. This adaptation of a story by Bernard Malamud, revolves around an aging player, Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford), who overcomes several obstacles to lead his team to victory. While some may dismiss the film as simplistic or too sentimental, there remains a beauty in the look of the film and the nostalgia for baseball it invokes. For the baseball romantic this is the pinnacle of cinema.


4. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

This Best Picture nominee has been called one of the greatest baseball movies ever made. While the inspirational story of Lou Gehrig may be more of a melodrama than a movie about the workings of baseball, there’s little to complain about and even the hardest of hearts will tear up during Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech. Stellar performances from Gary Cooper (as Gehrig) along with Walter Brennan and Teresa Wright in supporting roles (as well as many big leaguers in cameos as themselves – including Babe Ruth) give the film additional depth and authenticity.


5. Major League (1989)

Despite being formulaic and cliché-ridden, this rags-to-riches story of a Cleveland Indians team that surpasses all expectations to find success is tremendously fun and watchable. Not only is this the most widely accessible of all the baseball films on this list, it is also the most entertaining as it’s the only one to approach baseball as slapstick.


6. The Bad News Bears (1976)

Yeah, the kids are foul-mouthed and really not the sort you would want yours to hang around with. But, there’s an everyman quality at work here and the downtrodden Bears quickly become surrogates for us all as they claw their way out of obscurity. Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal excel in this redemption story as they rebuild their fragile relationship as the Bears rebuild their self-esteem.


7. The Stratton Story (1949)

Jimmy Stewart is wonderful as White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton whose leg was amputated after a hunting accident. The film chronicles his coming to terms with the injury as well as his attempts to resume his playing career. June Allyson and Frank Morgan are superb in supporting roles in this film that shows the courage inherent in America’s game.


8. A League of Their Own (1992)

Ostensibly about the struggles of the first women’s professional baseball league, Penny Marshall’s superb film is concerned more with women’s rights as a whole (though it does noticeably shy away from any substantial talk of racial injustice). Geena Davis does a credible job as the league’s star player but Tom Hanks steals the movie as the burned-out alcoholic coach of the Rockford Peaches, particularly when he delivers the now immortal line: “There’s no crying in baseball!”


9. Eight Men Out (1988)

Director John Sayles’s engrossing depiction of the Black Sox scandal, in which several members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the World Series. This brilliant tale of lost morality and rampant corruption combined with exquisitely filmed baseball scenes creates a wonderfully accurate picture of a forgotten time in American history. Strong performances from a varied and talented cast couple with an inspired screenplay based on Eliot Asinot’s book to deliver a movie that succeeds as a drama as well as a baseball film.


10. The Rookie (2002)

This inspirational tale of a Texas high school teacher/baseball coach Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid), who tries out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after promising his team he would if they won a championship, would be the ultimate treacle movie if it weren’t true. The film follows Morris’s quest for the American dream as he attempts to become a 30-yeard-old rookie pitcher. Although the baseball portions of the film aren’t as crisp as they could be, the film is thoroughly entertaining and excellent family fare.

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10 Best Mainstream Characters in Geeky Movies

By Matt Blum

After my post last week on geek characters in mainstream movies, I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of the converse. Here, then, is a list of mainstream characters in geeky movies (in no particular order):

1. Dr. Leonard McCoy from the first six Star Trek movies - He uses the technology, just like everyone else in the main cast, but he grumbles about it—especially about the transporter, which, really, has to be pretty close to warp drive on the usefulness scale. If he ever came out with one of Trek's trademark technobabble lines, I don't remember it, and I honestly can't think of another major character that could be said about.

Jayne_2 2. Jayne Cobb from Serenity - He'd sooner shoot you than talk with you about anything intellectual, and that's not hyperbole. He doesn't care what anyone thinks about him, doesn't take crap from anyone, and would rather solve any problem by hitting it, shooting it, or blowing it up.

3. Bill Lumbergh from Office Space - "So, Peter, what's happening?" He's a complete dork, but not a geek. He's just too deadly dull to be a real geek. And no geek could tell a group of coworkers about next Friday being Hawaiian Shirt Day.

Fezzik_2 4. Fezzik from The Princess Bride - As he himself says, it's not his fault he's a giant. He's a great friend to Inigo, a genuinely friendly guy who doesn't want to hurt anyone, and only does because Vizzini threatens him with abandonment. This is not to say that a geek can't also be a nice person, of course, but Fezzik is a very simple person, not used to thinking for himself.

5. Prof. Jerry Hathaway from Real Genius - Yes, he's a scientist. Yes, he's the one in charge of the whole group of geeks. And yes, he's a college professor. But, in my opinion, nobody who hates popcorn can be considered a geek, so he makes the list. Besides, he's a great villain and, really, there's no other character in the movie who could be considered mainstream at all, and how could this movie not be on the list?

(More after the jump.)

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Boromir 6. Boromir from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - He's basically a jock who doesn't really understand the power of the ring. Even so, he is an integral part of the fellowship until he falls under the ring's spell and tries to take it from Frodo. He dies heroically saving the hobbits, still not really understanding what it is he's dying for.

7. Winston Zeddmore from Ghostbusters - He only takes the job as a Ghostbuster because he needs the paycheck. He's more a man of faith than of science, unlike the other three members of the team. And of course he has one of the best lines of the film: "Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say 'YES!'"...not that that's really relevant to the discussion, but I had to mention it.

8. Carter Burke from Aliens - The company man who seems to care about Ripley until it serves his own selfish interests better to betray her. He clearly has never seen a single science fiction movie, because otherwise he would've realized that the aliens were going to get him, so how much of a geek could he be?

Buffy_2 9. Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer - In the TV show, she (pretty much) embraces the role of Slayer, so she's pretty much lost her mainstream status. But she starts the movie as your basic cheerleader character, and only later accepts that she's the only hope for winning the fight against the vampires, and even then she does it in her own way.

10. Sam Lowry from Brazil - He's a low-level bureaucrat caught in a system that doesn't care at all for him, escaping only through fantasies imagining himself as a romantic hero. In this unsubtle satire, Lowry doesn't even realize he has any option but conformity until his dream girl enters the picture. This is probably the only geek movie in which, really, none of the characters is a geek—the society they live in simply wouldn't allow it.

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Daniel Craig Offered, But Declined, Lead Role In ‘Thor’?

Published by Rick Marshall

Daniel CraigSure, we heard the rumors that current James Bond lead Daniel Craig was considered for the title role in “Thor,” but we didn’t think they were legit. One man playing both the smooth, international man of mystery and Marvel Comics’ Norse god of kicking magical villains’ butts? Not a chance.

Well, it looks like the rumors were not only true, but Craig was actually offered the role by Marvel Studios at one point.

During a recent “Quantum of Solace” press event, Craig revealed that Marvel did indeed approach him to play Thor, but he turned the role down. According to IESB, Craig said he declined the part because it would have been “too much of a power trip” to play both Bond and Thor.

As skeptical as we were about the casting, it does eliminate one more name from the pool of potential actors who could be wielding Thor’s magical hammer, Mjolnir, in July 2010. In fact, there’s been very little official news about the film thus far. The most recent reports have Mark Protosevich polishing the film’s script, and rumors that Kenneth Branagh will direct “Thor” have yet to be confirmed (even though he’s already cleared his schedule for the project).

So who would you like to see play Thor? Would Daniel Craig have been able to pull it off? What about Loki, Odin or the rest of Marvel’s Norse gods — who should play them?

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‘The Hobbit’ In 3D and IMAX? Guillermo Del Toro Leaves Open The Possibility

Guillermo del ToroAmidst all the rumors surrounding “The Hobbit,” the most prevalent seems to be that the two-part opus is already slated for the 3D and IMAX treatment. (Shhh! Don’t tell Roger Ebert.)

Could our next trip to Middle Earth, then, actually bring us, you know, into Middle Earth?

Maybe, maybe not, director Guillermo Del Toro told MTV News.

“IMAX is a fantastic medium. I am a shareholder. I love IMAX. I remember seeing ‘Polar Express,’ and then seeing ‘Polar Express’ in 3D and IMAX and having my life completely transformed,” he enthused, excitedly discussing the format’s immersive capabilities. “I think it would be a worthy discussion. But it hasn’t arrived.

“I think that we are experienced enough, I guess would be the term, to know that we should not daydream about [things like that] when we write the screenplay,” he said of whether or not he was even flirting with 3D or IMAX as possibilities. “Right now what we have is, you don’t have two filmmakers and two screenplay writers – you have four screenplay writers. We’ll be talking about 3D, on IMAX – but [not] right now.”

What do you think? Should “The Hobbit” get the IMAX and 3D treatment? Or is it a gimmick? Sound off on your thoughts below.

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