Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Scott Pilgrim DVD/Blu-Ray

This should have been the poster art for the theatrical release too:

It's similar to the UK poster, only better.

Both of these beat the U.S. poster, which is a fine homage to an image from the comic (which would be a perfectly good teaser poster), but does a poor job of communicating what is special about the movie.

Obviously they did this because by the time they were selling the movie, Youth in Revolt had made it clear that Michael Cera was box office poison. Still, there's ultimately no hiding that Cera is the star of this movie. The DVD cover at least tells us that this is Michael Cera with a flaming sword, which we haven't seen before, instead of Michael Cera with a guitar, which we have seen before. Also, what's with the "epic" tagline? Does that have anything to do with anything?

Then again, I'm not sure the flaming sword market is all that huge -- maybe they were afraid to weird people out. But the billboards showing every evil ex while the hero's face was hidden came off as pretty weird too.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Iron Man 2

This pretty much sums it up, don't you think?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


It's weird to see so many TV bloggers and critics earnestly evaluating the Glee back nine saying things like "all the songs don't give the story and characters room to breathe." I mean, I suppose if it's your job and you're obligated to say things about every episode, you have to say things like, "I don't think the character moments landed here" or "This story didn't really make any sense."

But what I don't understand is how anyone has any expectation that Glee is capable of things like coherent, believable stories and character motivations that you can track logically and invest in emotionally. The series has never done that. Supposedly the pilot was solid but even that got butchered before it hit the air. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've belabored the point that Glee's stories and characters were never good in numerous tweets. But the reason I feel so strongly about it, the reason I feel compelled to repeat it every time someone says something like "too much songs, not enough story," is that Glee made me feel that strongly. Basically, I enjoy the show now, but I also feel like it was constantly betraying me until I learned not to trust it.

Like a lot of Gleeks, I did musical theater in high school, so I've always wanted to like Glee. And when I started watching it, and tried to take the story and the world and the characters seriously, I was constantly insulted by the most idiotic, unbelievable plot contrivances imaginable. Schue's wife and Quinn, in particular, were made into irredeemably loathsome shrews so extreme that we could not feel sympathy for Mr. Schue and Finn, we could only write them off as hopeless morons. The only sensible conclusion is that everybody on the show is a joke. (Jayma Mays getting hilariously engaged for no reason to the poor coach she couldn't stand was supposed to make us hate her too, right? Good.) Not to mention the repetitive stories that would have us believe that the existence of Glee club -- the very premise of the show -- was at stake every single week. It's fine once in a while, but schmuck bait like that loses its impact fast. I'm pretty sure Glee club is not going to be permanently disbanded three episodes into the series, so let's move on to some other plots, please.

Glee basically trained me in every possible way to not care about anything you would normally take seriously about a show. I hung on for the musical numbers and Sue -- not just the best things about the show, but many weeks the only things about the show that were remotely watchable at all. I went through a period of episodes where Stephanie watched the show without me and I literally fast forwarded everything but songs and Sue, and didn't feel like I missed much. So if they're OD'ing on those things now, I don't really mind. There's nothing else on offer there, so let's load up on songs and Sue and enjoy them until we can't anymore. If they're shortchanging their stories, which never made any sense, great. I can enjoy the stories more now because we're done with the horrible baby secrets and Schue is divorcing, so they are actually better, but it's also because I've learned not to ever take anything in them seriously at all.

And you know what? Between the show's changes to lean more on its popular elements, and the adjustments in my own expectations, I quite enjoy the show now. They're playing to their strengths, and even discovering new ones (Brittany and Santana especially, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed Kurt last night). But taking it seriously (or asking for more of what the show does worst) is a recipe for disappointment, and I feel like people who want it more like the first half of the season were watching a different show than I was. The time to complain that the show is bad has passed. If you're still with it after all it's done, I would think you'd have made peace with it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Old Stand-Up

Hey, remember when I used to perform live?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Vlog Star: Best Original Song

Vlog Star is back with a new episode. I know you get tired of hearing this but I think this one is really good.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Phone Call

Apparently I never even posted the last episode of Vlog Star here. Goes to show how neglected this blog has become.

Nate & Max argument outtakes

Fun but unusable improv takes from the Break-In episode.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Vlog Star - Alternate Pilot

Hey everybody! Remember the beginning of Vlog Star? Maybe not. We've come a long way since then, and in retrospect, the early episodes are kind of a slow start. But at the same time, they do lay some groundwork that could be helpful to the series! Here's a recut episode encompassing elements of the first two that lays out the main characters a bit more economically. I'm putting the episodes up on web series site blip.tv, and probably won't put up all of them, but the show feels like it needs a first episode, so I'm using this to kick things off.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vlog Star - Last of the Sister Outtakes

There is really way too much stuff from the sister arc, but here is one more long, awkward piece of seduction, along with a few other brief outtakes.

Don't forget to be a Vlog Star Facebook fan if you aren't yet!

Where Thoughts Should Go

As the other participants in the 2004-era blogaround have abandoned their blogs entirely, I've been content to let this become yet another place to post my videos. Eventually one tires of the burden of writing a whole post on everything one thinks about every movie or TV show one watches or thing that one does. One realizes that 140 characters will suffice for most sentiments in life, because honestly, who has the time?

That said, I think I might need to start writing on this blog again, at least occasionally, because lately I have been bothering friends with very long-winded treatises on such subjects as How Vegans Are Like Christians and I fear this points to a suppressed need to pontificate on nonsense at great length. Since I have been limiting myself to the brevity of tweets and status updates, my indulgent ramblings have taken the unfortunate form of Facebook messages, making me look like an unbearable pest and proving that I have inherited my parents' strategy of winning arguments by exhausting one's opponent past the point of caring.

Anyway, my point is that sometimes I really enjoy belaboring a point with a series of long sentences, and social networking and microblogs aren't so conducive to that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vlog Star - Kent

The best sight gag of the episode, and maybe the season, Alexa carrying Nate for a long time while Kent chats her up, almost didn't happen. In the script the whole first half of the episode was to take place with everyone already riding in the car. However, it turned out that Bryan ("Todd") didn't have a car to drive, and I didn't want to force someone else to let him drive while we were all trying to film a scene. So at the last minute we had to retool the scene so that it happened before they got into the car. Having Alexa and Kent carry me was the first option, and might have looked pretty funny due to their height difference, but could also have been pretty difficult to do for the same reason.

So Chase volunteered to carry me on her own, confident that she could do it. And she did, for four or five full takes, with only the aid of sturdy wires holding me up that we erased in post! It worked out great, and the spectacle of her struggling to carry me while two much larger guys, including the one hitting on her, totally ignore her plight is pretty hilarious. Much better than the car scene would have been, and easier too. It also inspired the earlier counterpoint gag (shot later) in "The Plan" where Nate tries to lift Alexa and collapses immediately.

So thank goodness for happy accidents and strong co-stars.

Vlog Star Outtakes

Some more outtakes and alternate improvised bits that didn't fit in the episodes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nominate Vlog Star for a Streamy!

There's not much time left, but you can nominate Vlog Star for a Streamy Award. You've probably never heard of them but I assure you they're very prestigious.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vlog Star: Break-In

In season 3, I think we've been successful in making the show funnier, yet somehow in doing so we ended up spending a lot of the season back on the couch, which we'd tried to get away from in season 2. Go figure. Anyway, one of the reasons we allowed ourselves to do a bunch of couch episodes was that we had this story coming up, which we considered to be the big eventful arc, at least for this first half of the season.

This episode was conceived after I visited Romie's sister's house, where Romie was staying last year, and realized that access to such a gorgeous location was something we had to take advantage of. From there we ended up with Nate breaking into Todd's house, but we were still in the midst of season two at that point, so actually doing the episode was a long way off. During the intervening months, Romie moved out of the house and his sister put the home on the market, so getting the shoot done became more urgent.

To make it worth Romie's while, we threw in a cameo where he would get to kiss a dude. You're welcome, Romie.

This episode also makes use of fake blood for the second time this season. Watching it, I wish we had used more. I just finished watching season 5 of Lost, and every time someone gets punched on that show, their face is completely covered in blood a moment later. That's what this should have looked like, especially the way Nate gets beaten into the ground. But when we were in the location, even what we had seemed risky. Shooting in someone else's spotlessly clean and expensive house, full of white carpet and white furniture, made us constantly fearful of staining anything, since anything I touched would have turned red. I think we made it out without ruining anything, though. It's ironic that we planned our messiest scene for our cleanest, most untouchable location.

Editing this episode, I began to wonder whether we were leaning too hard on punching Nate for comedy, but two comments have gushed over the hilarious violence in this episode. That's two more than we usually get, so fortunately, our audience agrees with me that people getting punched is funny.

I've been bleeping the F-bombs in the show since season 2, since I think it is funnier, the way the bleeped expletives were funny on Arrested Development -- you know what they are anyway, yet it's somehow more acceptable. But Bryan Burgess, who plays a violent wild man better than anyone, will take any expletives you have in the script and multiply them exponentially, so I figured it was futile here. He swears funnier than I do anyway. I always feel like my swears sound too self-conscious. This episode also features Ken Peterson as another manager, Kent. As the name suggests, the part was written with him in mind, and his performance proves he was the right choice. He doesn't get much more here than some understated reactions and a handful of straight lines, but he nails every one of them and manages to be hilarious while seemingly doing nothing.

There's so much going on in this one, the joke of Nate tearing Alexa's shirt off to bandage his hand is almost lost in the shuffle. Don't forget to notice it!