Thursday, November 30, 2006

In Defense of the Austrian Sex God.

I am deeply saddened to report that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Golden God himself, has finally succumbed to the completely biased and inaccurate depiction of himself:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger distanced himself from President George W. Bush on national television yesterday, saying he was as far from his fellow Republican as he was from winning an Academy Award during his film career.

"To link me to George Bush is like linking me to an Oscar," the former bodybuilder and Hollywood action star joked during an appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." "That's ridiculous."

What? Arnold? What are you talking about? Do you FOLLOW your own film career? I am not disputing that Arnold and George Bush share nothing more than a political party, and considering the obvious Kennedy influences at play, that's a pretty loose association at best. But not worthy of an Oscar? Has Arnold seen his own movies?

By my count, Arnold Schwarzenegger should have WON at least 3 Oscars, and been nominated for several others. The problem with the Academy is that its nomination process automatically eliminates badass movies, even when the acting and stage presence are off the charts. If it's not a drama or a pretentious free-for-all (which I love, mind you), everything else is discounted, and who suffers from that? Austrian deities like Arnold "Chiseled Jawline of Goodness" Schwarzenegger.

For the benefit of Arnold and everyone else who doubts the Great One based on a few stinkbombs at the box office, I am providing a chronological list of everything Arnold has accomplished - and been intentionally ignored for.

1976 - Stay Hungry.

This may be the only movie that Arnold got any recognition for - he won a Golden Globe for Best Acting Debut (Male) for his portrayal of...well...a bodybuilder. But he still only knew, like, 5 words in English - which is 4 more than Peter Lorre knew during the filming of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). Fact. So for the sake of argument, let's say Arnold should have been nominated. Because even if he wasn't blowing the critics away, we're talking about the year of Sly Stallone's Oscar nomination. Arnold could easily replace him there. Sylvester went up some steps in a really asthetically unappealing drab gray sweatsuit.
Total: 1 Oscar nomination

1982 - Conan the Barbarian.

I REALLY don't like the Conan movies, or any movie where Arnold hair lies limply on his metallic buttocks. It's not appealing, and I've never been into barbaric sword fights where Peter Jackson or Ridley Scott didn't have directorial input. That said, his presence is undisputable and he totally nails Conan down. Arnold is the only actor ever to be nailed to a cross in at least two different movies under completely different circumstances without playing a biblical character. Probably.
Total: 2 Oscar nominations

1984 - The Terminator.

There are three main reasons why Arnold should have won the Oscar several months after my womb exit. Number one - he was still gorgeous throughout the movie, despite literally smelling like a dead cat and having no eyebrows for most of the movie. Talk about overcoming hardcore hurdles. Number two - some people get Oscars for being ugly in films, like Charlize and Nicole. I propose giving it out to people who ACCOMPLISH something significant during the movie. In this case, Arnold literally grabs Bill Paxton's heart out of his chest and leaves it on a basketball court in LA. If that had happened in Twister, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's careeer would have skyrocketed 10 years earlier than it did.
Total: 1 Oscar win, 3 nominations

1987 - Predator.

If Arnold from Predator and Marlon from Streetcar came within 5 feet of each other, they would explode into neon lights spelling out "SWOON." He's THAT hunkified in this sci-fi Amazonian rainforest alien shitstorm of camoflagued visual treasures. He simply towers over other hardcore stalwarts with machine guns, like Jesse Ventura chewing tobacco and Carl Weathers from Rocky. And he kills an alien and looks him right in the eye and says, "You are one...ugly...motherfucker." No one else would do that. Not even Chuck Norris and his stupid random fact generator. Arnold doesn't even NEED a random fact generator.
Total: 1 Oscar win, 4 nominations

1988 - Twins.

Never in all my days have I seen anyone else look good in Chuckie T's and shorts, but that's besides the point. What we have here is the only Arnold character that I could have legitimately taken advantage of. Although we're supposed to swallow the idea that Danny Devito and his trainwreck midget body could outwit the tree trunked Arnold, Twins redeems itself by providing us with Arnold's first stab at physical comedy - and it hits on all cylinders. Out of any win or nomination I'm proposing, I suspect this is the one that is going to elicit the most criticism, but that's perfectly understandable when you consider a) no one appreciates Arnold to begin with b) no one appreciates performances in comedies and c) this isn't a very good comedy. However, he's absolutely darling, and when you contrast this performance with something in, say, Red Sonja, you can see how far he's come. He just needs to do something about that blond hair.
Total: 2 Oscar wins, 5 nominations

1990 - Total Recall and Kindergarten Cop.

I can't think of a year when someone was nominated twice in the same category, but I've decided that it's legal and it should have happened. While I thought he was absolutely stellar in both films, his performance as a kindergarten teacher performing undercover work just barely nudges out his heavy Sharon Stone petting in Total Recall. This sort of goes along with my James Cromwell Oscar theory, where extra props should be given if one has to interact with animals. Arnold forms an unlikely crime fighting partnership with a ferret, which, if memory serves, never actually had a name. I think its pertinent to mention that a little over two years ago, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation that would have granted amnesty to over 500,000 ferrets in California.
"I love ferrets. I co-starred with a ferret in 'Kindergarten Cop,'" Schwarzenegger insisted in his veto message. "However, this bill is too bureaucratic and it legalizes ferrets prior to conducting an environmental impact report."

If anyone is interested, these sleeping ferrets look frighteningly similar to the dead mouse corpse that melted to the floor behind my fridge that I had to peel off and throw out whilst entrails came streaming out of its carcass.
Total: 3 Oscar wins, 7 nominations

In closing, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only exception to my hardline immigration stance, and if President Hillary has to step down amid another Clinton sex scandal (my guess would be with Condi, but beggars can't be choosers), I will campaign for the Austrian until the end of time. Thank you.

I Wouldn't Know This If I Hadn't Been Cutting A Ukranian Kid's Hair in Front of the TV, But

John Legend and Benjamin Mckenzie are twins.

Black Ryan Atwood.

White Ryan Atwood.

Uncanny, isn't it? No? Well...look at the Marcia Gay Harden dog. Take comfort in the fact that I can at least find DOGS who look like celebrities.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Weenie Enema Guide to Monopoly.

This weekend, I had the honor of butting heads with the best Monopoly player in the world, or at least from Bensonhurst. For approximately 10 hours, "Tracy" (name redacted said I couldn't use her real name) and I matched (or in my case, attempted to match) wits over hotel construction on Pennsylvania Avenue, railroad domination, and what I deem to be an extremely unfair society within the parameters of the game, in which the very worst of the welfare state and the very worst of a capitalistic society duked it out, much to my disadvantage. Since no one else had the luxury of getting one-on-one tutorials with a Monopoly master, I have decided to create my own manual that will not only provide common sense strategies to help you befuddle mental inferiors, but will also clearly demonstrate that Monopoly is the love child of Ayn Rand and Karl Marx.

1. Never play with "Tracy."
It is completely impossible to win if you choose this path. Some people (people who don't get "it" and have never played with "Tracy") will tell you that the key to the game is actually luck. No matter how skilled a player is, they can't prevent you from rolling the dice and hitting Park Place or drawing a Chance Card that says "Take a walk on the Boardwalk." This is just not true. The luck involved in acquiring a monopoly on the Greens (Pacific, North Carolina and Pennsylvania) or the Blues (Park Place and Boardwalk) will allow you, not to win, but to at least remain competitive for a few hours while a superior opponent slowly but surely squeezes the life out of you, one mortgage at a time.

2. The theory that having a railroad monopoly over Boardwalk and Park Place is better is completely, completely wrong.
There are a lot of railroad supporters. We're not hating on the railroads. Everyone loves the railroads, unless they don't own them and have to fork over $200 four times before they reach the relative safety of passing Go and collecting a meager salary that's going to get eaten up as soon as you land on Reading. It absolutely doesn't hurt to have the railroads, but it's much more effective to have a monopoly on actual colors.

Example. Let's say you own all the railroads, and your opponent owns one of the mid-tier monopolies, like the Oranges (St. James, Tennessee and New York). You have a consistent revenue source, in that it's likely your opponent will land on your railroads every once in a while, automatically netting you $200. It's a good time. And they're dangerously sprinkled evenly across the board, so your opponent is never safe from the wrath of the B&O and its siblings. However, it's limited goodness. If your opponent has a monopoly on the Oranges and manages to build up an impressive trifecta of hotels before being financially crippled by your RR domination and whatever else you own, you could lose at least $975 every time you go by. It's not the consistent threat that the railroads present, but there aren't too many people who can afford to land on an Orange-level hotel multiple times without humbly turning over their property deeds and mortgaging for survival.

Does this mean that as long as you have some sort of color monopoly, you can beat the railroads? No. If you will refer to my first strategy, playing against a "Tracy" will make this theory moot no matter what you do. Also, having the Purples (Mediterranean and Baltic) is generally more annoying than decisive. If it's very early on in the game, more than likely, your opponent has over $1000 and can deal with landing on the $450 hotel on Baltic. Since you've spent $500 on Purple hotels, you're in a much more vulnerable position than your opponent, so winning with the Purples early on will only happen if the other player has NOTHING. And that almost never happens.

3. Realizing that you're about to lose can actually save you. If you're willing to go for it.

This is a true story that occurred last night. I decided to play Monopoly with Ingrid. Olivia was an active spectator for five minutes until she fell asleep on Big Bear and curled her body up tighter than a snare drum. After several romps around the board, it became abundantly clear that Ingrid was on her way to victory. She had already acquired the railroads, the Purples, and after buying Pennsylvania Avenue, it was not possible for me to organically create a monopoly on the board. So what did I do? I went for it.
I had two of the Oranges, and Ingrid had the other. We each had one Yellow, and Atlantic Avenue was the only property left unclaimed. I proposed a trade that could have meant my doom, but it definitely ensured me a final chance. In exchange for the Orange - giving me a monopoly - I would give her my Yellow. That way, if Ingrid landed on Atlantic, she had a Yellow monopoly and I was dead to rights. At this point, I had about 50% of my properties under mortgage and I was close to death.

But then it happened. I landed on Atlantic. The game began to slowly but surely go in my favor.
HOWEVER, this is where the real risk is. On paper, I have an automatic advantage - the Orange monopoly. BUT, I also have no money, while Ingrid has about $1000, the RR monopoly and the Purple monopoly. There is a very, very fine line during this period, when you have to decided when and how to build up your monopolies with about $200 to spare. If you build them too soon and you land on the Purple, boom, you're done. But if you manage to somehow juggle fiscal responsibility with hotel building and you get an unwilling victim to land on New York, you're home free. Rememeber that fine line. It will either bury you or propel you to victory.

4. It's okay to cheat and/or sacrifice yourself if you're playing with a Smitten Weenie Brian and Jocelyn.
It's kind of sad that I have so many Monopoly stories involving so many different people. We'll ignore that for the time being. In early 2005, Devra and I decided to have a re-match with Weenie and Jocelyn. (During the first game in mid-2004, Weenie and Jocelyn met and fell madly in love with one another over by the Red properties - Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois) The advantage was squarely on us, because all of our faculties were in working order and we were coldly rational, in stark opposition to the other participants. About midway through the game, with all of the properties acquired, Devra and I noticed that, although no one had a monopoly, Jocelyn and Weenie each had one of the coveted Blues. It was only a matter of time before they noticed it and forged a partnership, leaving us out to dry. So we did what was necessary - we used their smittenness against them.

For hardcore Emma loyalists out there, you may remember what was significant in our world back in early 2005. February 27, 2005 was the date of our Most Amazing Oscar Party ever, in which 80 people shuffled into our dorm to watch the last great movie, Million Dollar Baby, deliver the smackdown on another overrated Martin Scorcese shitfest. Since Blue Mego and I were essentially co-hosting the shindig - with an amazing support staff - Blue Mego was in charge of much of the decorating, including an intimidating Oscar nominee checklist that literally went from the ceiling to the floor. The idea was that guests would come in, write their name on the next available line and circle their choices, and the person with the most correct guesses got a free movie pass provided by our dorm. (Devra and this kid from my Rocket Science class won.) Even though the Oscars weren't for several weeks, we had hung up the giant mother checklist weeks in advance, partly out of pure giddiness, as this WAS the year Natalie should have won, and partly so that any of our chums could put their guesses in before the chaos of the party consumed the world. That basically meant that only Devra, Blue Mego and I had our selections up. Shrug.

What a badass piece of cinema goodness. SWANK DOG. <3.
Although that tale may seem irrelevent, it played a key role in Devra's victory. Without even conferring with each other (because we work like clockwork and whatnot), I frowned and said to Weenie and Jocelyn, "Did someone draw a penis on the Oscar checklist?" Both Weenie and Jocelyn swiveled around to look. I stole Jocelyn's Tennesse Avenue and gave it to Devra, who now had a Monopoly. Neither Weenie nor Jocelyn knew what had gone down, and my acting was top-notch. "I don't see it," said Weenie. "Where?" said Jocelyn. I frowned. " right under my name by the Best Director slot." "There's nothing there." (tittering by Devra, which was quickly suppressed) "Huh...maybe it was a bug shaped like a penis or something?" Jocelyn enjoyed that idea immensely. The penis-shaped bug was quickly forgotten, and we went back to the game. Devra coldly waited about 10 minutes before deciding to build up her Orange properties. Jocelyn looked rather contemplative. "When did you get a monopoly?" "Oh, I don't know, a while ago. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it." Jocelyn nodded. "Cool." Twenty minutes later, Devra won. Do not play this game if you are smitten and there is an Oscar nominee checklist behind you. You will lose.

5. Understand the limitations that the nanny state creates for you, and use the capitalistic aspect to your advantage.

I never complain about this when it happens to another player, but I seriously resent paying $15 poor taxes and giving $200 to hospitals. I don't recall there being free hospital insurance Community Chest cards. I get absolutely nothing for my donations to the public sector, unless I waive the rule about no one getting anything from Free Parking, which I usually do. This is one of the great intellectual riddles of Monopoly. On one hand, it encourages the liberal government overseeing that results in luxury taxes between Park Place and Boardwalk (as if we can afford them in that neighborhood anyway) and you being elected the Chairman of the Board and doling out money to the other players. Also, it's called Monopoly, which liberal government intervention tries to create on a regular basis. On the other hand, Monopoly, by virtue of the game's instructions, fosters competition, which is a tenet right out of Atlas Shrugged. If you can somehow compromise on these two extreme idealogies, you will end up with a ridiculous amount of fake money.

6. I promised my cousin that I would mention our amazing Monopoly game from 1998.
I have never in all my days enjoyed a better Monopoly game than the marathon that my cousin Michael and I played during the last golden years of our childhood. He stayed at my house for about a week, and that's about how long the game took. We played for about six to 10 hours a day, and my mom actually had to photocopy $100 bills at work because we both had so much money that the bank was bankrupt. Everything had a hotel, and it was split so evenly that we both had thousands and thousands of dollars. But finally, Michael landed on Virginia Avenue one too many times. I would have been just as happy losing that game of magnificance.

Tomorrow: a soliloquy about Teddy Ruxpin.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Story That NEVER Goes Away: Zack Vank Creator Interview

I am tentatively promising that this is the last Zack Vank-related post for quite a while, unless something REALLY intense goes down, like Kerri Strug being forced to issue a press release about her supposed love affair with the Omaha Royals centerfielder. That is rather unlikely, although I'm sure Kerri would love to be reunited with the spotlight that callously abandoned her after a guest spot on an aged 90210 in 1997. This time around, we managed to get the ACTUAL creator to take some time out of his Wikipedia molestation fun to explain where Zack Vank came from, digress on the moral implications of said molestation, and give me more reasons to go back to San Francisco and marry him.

For further understanding:
MyDadIsAWeenie: E.E. Grimshaw
BRags 753: Bobbie Ragsdale
lawrencetognotti: Chris
angelfisheyny: Michelle

You have just entered room "chat27800601403452302574."
lawrencetognotti has entered the room.
lawrencetognotti: Hey.
MyDadIsAWeenie: perhaps others will join
MyDadIsAWeenie: drunk erin and ingrid are in atlantic city, so you have an advantage in that all of the questions will be coherent
MyDadIsAWeenie: we shall start
MyDadIsAWeenie: introduce yourself and your significance to weenie enema readers
lawrencetognotti: Well, my name is Chris, and I was the creator of the Zack Vank character.
MyDadIsAWeenie: so the seth guy that we talked to
MyDadIsAWeenie: was really more of an assistant
lawrencetognotti: Later in the process, I collaborated with Seth on a lot of it, and he's a very crucial member of it, but the genesis of it was me.
MyDadIsAWeenie: i'm going to have to ask the obvious.
MyDadIsAWeenie: why?
MyDadIsAWeenie: who just decides to create a fictional wikipedia character
BRags753: I was gonna ask that
lawrencetognotti: Well, I was trying to start writing more. I'm an actor and an writer, but I'm not productive enough. So I started writing a story about a character named Zack Vank.
MyDadIsAWeenie: so before this went on wikipedia
MyDadIsAWeenie: it was just a screenwriting-esque project
lawrencetognotti: In the story, I knew he was displaced in Minnesota, and I knew he was a baseball player, but I was having some trouble with it... yeah, this was before.
BRags753: So Minnesota Malt is real?
lawrencetognotti: It's real insofar as there are a few pages of questionable quality.
lawrencetognotti: I need to rethink how I'm writing it. I was writing as a third person, but I might change it...
angelfisheyny has entered the room.
MyDadIsAWeenie: do you actually have a story on microsoft word or something with zack vank as the main character
BRags753: My origional hypothesis was that this was a weird underground viral marketing type of deal or a real book...
MyDadIsAWeenie: i thought it was a good theory
lawrencetognotti: Well, the thing is, I didn't set up the wikipedia page with promoting this story in mind, it was just sort of a fun hobby that evolved out of my thoughts on the character.
angelfisheyny: oh is this the other guy!
MyDadIsAWeenie: hahaha yes
MyDadIsAWeenie: disregarding the wikipedia article for a second
MyDadIsAWeenie: what does the actual story of zack vank entail
angelfisheyny: wanking
lawrencetognotti: I'm unsure as of yet, which you kind of see in the description.
lawrencetognotti: Thusfar, all I have is he's stuck in minnesota.
lawrencetognotti: And he's staying in the spare bedroom of a strip club owner.
MyDadIsAWeenie: so it's just a minor league ballplayer in minnesota with a grudge against paul verhoeven?
lawrencetognotti: Heh. Well...

BRags753: ok, so he's gay then he's not gay... explain
MyDadIsAWeenie: i think that was totally understandable
MyDadIsAWeenie: he was only gay because some guy tried to vandalize their page
lawrencetognotti: Well, it all goes back a few years... many years, for me, actually.
lawrencetognotti: There was a guy I went to elementary school with named Rob.
lawrencetognotti: He was always kind of a jerk.
angelfisheyny: is lawrence tognotti your real name
lawrencetognotti: Actually, lawrence is my middle name, after my father. My real name is Chris Tognotti.
angelfisheyny: do you say it Tog-notti
angelfisheyny: or Tonnnyyyooottti
MyDadIsAWeenie: i feel like these questions
MyDadIsAWeenie: not so important
lawrencetognotti: I do the former, even though the latter is correct.
MyDadIsAWeenie: seth sort of alluded to this in our last interview
MyDadIsAWeenie: and basically just told me to ask you
MyDadIsAWeenie: why did you pick kerri strug as zack vank's love interest
lawrencetognotti: Well, when the whole Kerri Strug thing went down, I was... eight or nine years old.
MyDadIsAWeenie: as was i
lawrencetognotti: And I remember having a crush on her at the time.
MyDadIsAWeenie: YES
MyDadIsAWeenie: so this was vicarious celebrity love
lawrencetognotti: Not exactly...
MyDadIsAWeenie: you know, she was 19 and hadn't reached puberty yet
MyDadIsAWeenie: that to me is damaged goods
lawrencetognotti: Hmm... that's, ah didn't know that...
lawrencetognotti: I guess it wasn't meant to be.
MyDadIsAWeenie: dude. her voice was higher than jonathan lipnicki's
angelfisheyny: she looked like the same age as him
lawrencetognotti: But, anyways, it wasn't a vicarious thing really, I just kind of thought it was a funny pairing, since you never hear about gymnasts after they compete.
MyDadIsAWeenie: i heard about shannon miller after the olympics
MyDadIsAWeenie: she cheated on her eye doctor husband with a married gymnast
lawrencetognotti: Gymnasts are a sultry bunch.
MyDadIsAWeenie: that's...totally not the word i would use
MyDadIsAWeenie: but why paul verhoeven
lawrencetognotti: Paul Verhoeven...
lawrencetognotti: I wrote about Verhoeven because I had the misfortune of seeing the Hollow Man twice.
lawrencetognotti: Once in theaters, then once on DVD.
MyDadIsAWeenie: i'm getting the feeling that everything vank likes or doesn't like is a direct replication of your own feelings
lawrencetognotti: Not entirely, actually. Zack Vank hates the Borat movie, which I found somewhat entertaining.
MyDadIsAWeenie: why did he hate it
lawrencetognotti: Cause he doesn't find awkward situations funny if they're because the offender is oblivious to it.

MyDadIsAWeenie: okay, where does zack vank go from here? does he just stay on wikipedia, or what
lawrencetognotti: Well, I add things now and then. The wiki page now has a link to an interview I wrote, and I'm still working on the story.
MyDadIsAWeenie: can we see the link? i think you or seth sent it to me earlier this week
lawrencetognotti: The info about Vank has also leaked out onto other websites that gather their info from wikipedia, as well.
MyDadIsAWeenie: i've noticed that
MyDadIsAWeenie: i think on, they included zack vank on the roster for the omaha royals
lawrencetognotti: Yeah.
lawrencetognotti: The history of us trying to keep the wiki people from deleting the page is kind of interesting, just because...
lawrencetognotti: There's no conceivable excuse for them not to have flagged it.
lawrencetognotti: When I added his name, I didn't remove an existing name, so the roster mysteriously has 26 players, one of whom's bio contains extraneous, remarkable claims..
MyDadIsAWeenie: from what i gather
MyDadIsAWeenie: after that guy put the wanking for vank shizzle in the article, wikipedia got more suspicious and flagged it
MyDadIsAWeenie: but every time something like that happened
MyDadIsAWeenie: you magically created and/or found another outside source.
lawrencetognotti: Yeah, the Jason Whitlock article was what saved it.
lawrencetognotti: I was lucky that they had an insider article about the royals.
lawrencetognotti: Cause I figured anybody who spends their time trying to keep a system as insane as wikipedia functioning properly likely won't have the time or motivation to register to see it.
MyDadIsAWeenie: for those of our readers who don't remember, the jason whitlock article was this article on that you needed to register for to see
MyDadIsAWeenie: but i'm just thinking that somewhere down the line, another lame person like me is going to find this article
MyDadIsAWeenie: and they won't be nice enough to keep it a secret found only on their pop culture niche blog
lawrencetognotti: Well, if that happens, I'll slip something else through... as long as there's somebody dedicated to keep a user input encyclopedia, there'll be jerks like me tampering with it.

MyDadIsAWeenie: morally, how do you feel about all of this? there are a lot of, i guess strict constructionists out there who think someone deliberately messing with wikipedia is a felony
BRags753: felonious, no. Reprehensible, perhaps. Annoying, certainly. No offense
BRags753: people do use wikipedia for information. False information harms society, in general
lawrencetognotti: I think it's a touchy issue, obviously...
lawrencetognotti: My mindset has always been, if me editing something involves tech savvy, it's a no go.
lawrencetognotti: If they're going to open up a massive database that can be edited by anyone, though, I'll have fun with that.
lawrencetognotti: It is worth noting that to this point, I've never edited anything that would be deemed of massive importance or relevance.
lawrencetognotti: It's pretty much been this, and for a while the page for Ron Livingston said he was supposed to play Goro in the mortal kombat movie. They took that down, though.
MyDadIsAWeenie: but brags, are we actually at the point where most people look at wikipedia as the be all, end all for information?
BRags753: well, no, but wouldn't it be great if we could?
BRags753: It bases itself on the good intentions of humanity
MyDadIsAWeenie: it would, but chris has a point - wikipedia does invite this sort of abuse to take place by letting anyone edit or create articles
BRags753: and is, generally speaking, a success. That's true. I'm not saying you're the bane of societies informational growth, but it is misleading in some small capacities. And thousands of people out there doing the same thing hurt the national knowledge base
lawrencetognotti: I guess we come to an impasse here...
MyDadIsAWeenie: i mean, chris is right that zack vank is pretty insignificant when you compare him to my bff hillary, but i have to agree with brags that if you start tinkering with the little things, the big things can crumble too
lawrencetognotti: I suppose that on a philosophical level, I would agree.
MyDadIsAWeenie: how far are you willing to go with this?
lawrencetognotti: The manner in which that translates into what's going on here is somewhat silly, but... how far? I don't really know that it CAN go much farther.
MyDadIsAWeenie: well, we've already discussed the fact that other websites are carrying this information
lawrencetognotti: Yes, there are info sites that gather their information from wikipedia.
lawrencetognotti: The knowledge that anybody involved in professional baseball had the name Zack Vank spoken to them is still a little beyond my belief.
MyDadIsAWeenie: hahaha i never heard back from the omaha royals beat writer about zack vank after he said he was going to look into it
lawrencetognotti: Maybe he got distracted watching him hit all those home runs.
MyDadIsAWeenie: i think you guys should seriously get a picture of him up on wikipedia
lawrencetognotti: We were thinking about that.
lawrencetognotti: It depends on if we can get a decent looking outfit, I guess.
BRags753: Are you going to try and keep writing the rest of Minnesota Malt?
lawrencetognotti: I am, yeah, I'm probably going to go back and restart it as a first person narrative, though.
lawrencetognotti: I find that it's more interesting to read that way.
BRags753: You should. And then you should use the pseudonym Zack Vank
lawrencetognotti: That'd be the plan, yeah.
BRags753: Viral Marketing. It's where it's at.

MyDadIsAWeenie: how many other people do you think are out there doing the exact same thing?
lawrencetognotti: People doing what? tampering with "the man?"
MyDadIsAWeenie: yes, creating fake wikipedia people
lawrencetognotti: Oh, probably loads. The wiki folks are pretty good at maintaining their stuff, though.
MyDadIsAWeenie: they really were not shown in their best light here though
BRags753: I dunno. I was impressed they were as vigilent as they were
MyDadIsAWeenie: please. they followed protocol but didn't even bother to stray outside the lines and make an extra effort
lawrencetognotti: That's true, but hey, everybody has bad days. They hand out medals, you know, for catching wikivandals.
BRags753: Emma should get a medal
MyDadIsAWeenie: blush
MyDadIsAWeenie: should not
lawrencetognotti: When I found that out, I naturally assumed, "well, there's clearly a give and take here, because they're taking a sort of geeky enjoyment in trying to stop me as I am in fooling with them."
MyDadIsAWeenie: i have a question about the zack vank vandal
MyDadIsAWeenie: he knows zack vank isn't real, correct?
lawrencetognotti: I guess Rob could somehow not know it's fake.
lawrencetognotti: He doesn't know that we created him, though, that's the fun thing. He has no idea he's antagonizing guys who he knew in high school.
lawrencetognotti: Yeah. To call Rob a bully is a joke, too. He's more of a pest.
MyDadIsAWeenie: are you basically just stalking your high school nemesis like i do with MY arch-enemy looby?
lawrencetognotti: No, actually, we didn't realize until after we changed his page who it was.
lawrencetognotti: We found it while checking the alumni page for redwood high school.
MyDadIsAWeenie: is there anything else we should know about zack vank, his future, et cetera
lawrencetognotti: Well, I am writing more, and I may tinker with the page as long as it exists... but, outside of that, nothing much. Oh, there is one thing.
MyDadIsAWeenie: ears perked
lawrencetognotti: Zack Vank appears in some other things I'm writing as a reference point.
MyDadIsAWeenie: brags, anything else?
BRags753: I got nothing
lawrencetognotti: I must say, I greatly appreciate you guys deeming this all interesting enough to chat with me for a while. Quite a delight.
MyDadIsAWeenie: oh, no, it was an absolute pleasure
MyDadIsAWeenie: i assume that if there are some developments, you will let us know?
lawrencetognotti: Of course I will. You've got my facebook, so I can stay in touch.
MyDadIsAWeenie: for the record, although we may have given you a bit of a hard time for the morality issue, i thought this whole zack vank thing was astoundingly clever and amazing
MyDadIsAWeenie: and if/when i go back to san fran, we'll have to get cow or za
lawrencetognotti: Sounds like a plan, you'll have to let me know.
MyDadIsAWeenie: <3. excellent. thank you very much for dropping by.
lawrencetognotti: My pleasure. I'll talk to you guys later. Cheers!
lawrencetognotti has left the room.
MyDadIsAWeenie: we're marrying him
BRags753: you. Singular.

Of course I'm going to conclude by lauding my own detective skills. The Hardy Boys quake at my mad deductive reasoning. Nancy Drew wants to be me. I don't know any real detectives, or else I'd definitely mention their inability to match wits with me. I would also like to take this time to thank both Chris and Seth for talking with us and solving a mystery that had my head spinning for almost a month. They both came off as extremely articulate and creative, and we're all about people like that. The Zack Vank Mystery is right up there with Hardy Boys #4 The Missing Chums and BSC #2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Penelope Cruz Making Menses Jokes in Spanish is Pretty Much the Greatest Thing Ever.

3.9 stars.
I am now firmly convinced that Penelope Cruz should never make another English language movie again. It would be a disservice to society at large - particularly to those who have been irreparably damaged from seeing Sahara or Gothika - if Cruz didn't just stay in Spain and make hardcore badass movies, even if it means taxing my diseased eye with subtitles galore. Yes, she is that good, and yes, her performance in Volver is Helen Mirren's worst nightmare. Unless you count when she was running around naked in Calendar Girls, and that was really more my nightmare than hers.

Has there ever been a more unnecessary movie? Not counting [insert name of Sandra Bullock movie].

One of my favorite kinds of movies (if it can be done successfully) is when you have two or three different movies within one that blend together perfectly. I may be the only person who thinks very highly of From Dusk Till Dawn, but it starts out as a typical bank robber movie and then BOOM, it's a vampire movie, and you have George Clooney shooting stakes into vamp hookers for two hours. Random.

Volver is a lot better than From Dusk Till Dawn, but it also has the two different movie concepts working. On one hand, Penelope's deadbeat husband, who looks smellier than Courtney Cox in Kuwait, is murdered by her daughter and Penelope has to figure out what to do with the body. That legit takes up about 30% of the movie. On the other hand, her mother, who was presumed dead as the result of a fire years earlier, shows up, and I seriously spent almost the entire movie trying to figure out if she was a ghost or was the actual mother and had just been hiding or something. Everyone around me knew immediately, weren't as obvious about their confusion, OR deliberately withheld the information from me because they overheard me talking about body hair before the previews with a David Duchovny-lookalike Philosophy professor and Abby and wanted to teach me a lesson. All of these are legitimate possibilities.

M'am, are you dead?

In short, Volver is the best picture of the Oscar season, but because Melissa "Homely Laura Ingalls" Gilbert and her Academy posse have a bias against foreign films, it's probably going to have to settle for the Foreign Language Oscar, just like Life Is Beautiful did in 1998. Dramatic sigh. But it's very funny, very intelligent, and Penelope and I are now official BFFs. The end.

"I hate movies that are not in the same language as Little House on the Prairie."

In other news, Dawn linked to me on her blog because she also thinks Beaches is the best movie of all time. When I met her at the Indian bordello last year, we spent most of our time together recalling plot developments on Dr. Quinn (the only show where people die of rabies) and reciting whole chunks of dialogue from the Bette Midler movie of greatness. Good times.

"The Sammy Pinkers Kiddie Show just happens to be the most popular act in Atlantic City, and I'm the most popular act in it. Along with Iris Myandowski, the handwalking queer."

On Wednesday, I went to this intense shindig of sorts that Karol forced me to go to against my will in Midtown. I don't know what it is with these people and Midtown. At any rate, a guy who looked like a Liam Neeson circa Darkman era/stoner from Clueless hybrid started hitting on Drunk Erin and he looked autistic.
Hybrid: I'm autistic
Emma: You're autistic???
Hybrid: I'm ARTISTIC.
Emma: Heh.
Hybrid goes back to his autistic friends.

In closing, here is a dog that looks like Angelica Huston.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

You Are Not Allowed To Be In Other Movies. Because I Said So.

I apparently have a new reader, which is very exciting, because I've been maintaining my readership of three people for a year and a half now, and it's always fun to bring random people into my web of intrigue slash greatness. At any rate, reelfanatic commented on my last post, stating that Richard Farnsworth may have been in a David Lynch movie. Here's the thing. There are certain actors that you always intrinsically identify with one movie, either because you've never seen one of their other movies or because one of their roles made such a huge, hardcore impression that you couldn't separate their character in that one movie from anything else they ever did.
Such is the case with Mr. Farnsworth. I'm pretty sure I've never seen him in anything besides Anne of Green Gables, so if I stumbled upon a film where he was doing something other than driving Anne back to Green Gables in his wagon and tilling the fields on Prince Edward Island, I would lose my shit. So I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to deconstruct this image of Richard Farnsworth, but part of that is because I've been anti-David Lynch since he decided to do a movie showcasing Naomi Watts' nipples, and there are few things that I am more against in this world than her Aussie areolae.

See the buttons on her dress? Her nips are literally 10 times the size of them. Literally.

Since there is nothing to do at work, I can spend all day making a delightful list of actors that I am morally compelled to never see in multiple movies, for fear of ruining my image of them.

1. Barbara Hershey (Hillary Whitney) - Beaches

This is the part of the movie that really starts to set me off. Okay, I actually start crying about 10 minutes before this, when Hillary goes to the library to look up cardio myopathy and starts reading, finds out she's going to die, and starts looking around the library with teary eyes. But I usually start full-on bawling at this point, when Hillary beats Bette at gin, and Bette gets up to make lunch for Hillary's daughter (because Hillary's dying and is too weak at this point to do anything) and says, "I know everything there is to know about you, and my memory is long, my memory is very long." She walks away and Barbara Hershey takes off her glasses and you can see how dark the area around her eyes has gotten, and she murmurs, "I'm counting on it." God. Seriously. I could go on for eons about how amazing this movie is.

Now, Barbara Hershey has been in a TON of movies, including The Last Temptation of Christ, The Portrait of a Lady (which I need to see because I endured a hellish month getting through that book and I should be quasi-rewarded for my troubles) and Hannah and her Sisters. I've only seen two of her non-Beaches movies - Swing Kids, in which she has a putrid German accent and is Robert Sean Leonard's mother in Nazi Germany, and The Natural, which I turned off about 25% of the way through because it was the dumbest shit I had seen since The Mummy. And it basically destroyed my faith in Robert Redford, because I hadn't been aware of the idea that he could make a bad movie. That was before I saw Indecent Proposal. You know. When people thought Demi Moore was a legitimate actress.
I just can't see Barbara Hershey as anything other than Hillary, and that's more about the movie than her, because I didn't think she was particularly amazing in it. Although it may have something to do with the fact that the two other characters I've seen her play were much more simplistic than Hillary. I don't know - it's difficult to think rationally when Beaches is involved.

2. Victor Garber (Thomas Andrews) - Titanic

Victor Garber has suffered the fate that many actors who are relegated to supporting roles are subject to. Since he's not well-known in terms of name recognition, he's usually identified as "The Pervert Guy Who Molested Reese in Legally Blonde" or "That Guy From 'Alias'" or "The Weird Guy From The New Hit Fox Series 'Justice.'" For me, he will always be the Scotsman from Titanic who designed the unsinkable ship and spent the second half of the movie sulking/brooding Ryan Atwood style as Kate and Leo kept getting on and off the ship, going from deck to deck and skirting death until Leo finally developed icicles under his nose and Kate dropped him into the Atlantic. The only thing that could have made Titanic better was if his character made out with Kathy Bates.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown + Victor Garber = Love.

3. Bob Hoskins (Eddie Valient) - Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

I'm platonically in love with Bob Hoskins. I think he has the best nose in the history of humanity, and his natural cockney accent is sex. He's sort of an anamoly on this list in that I've actually seen quite a few of his movies, including Mermaids with Winona Ryder, which has been shown three times in the five-year history of the Wino Marathon. I'm also pretty sure he was gypped of Oscar gold for Unleashed with Jet Li, but that's not an argument I even have the slightest chance of winning. Sigh.

That said, between the ages of 5 and 10, I probably saw this movie more than Terminator 2 or Land Before Time. I have no idea why I was all about Roger Rabbit, especially since I couldn't emotionally handle the last 15 minutes of it when Judge Doom's eyes bulged out ala Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall and he kept throwing cartoon blades at Bob Hoskins. Shiver. His raspy American accent (very underrated in the age of Jude Law accent butchery) is engrained into my psyche, and I was under the mistaken impression for about 10 years that the flask he kept swigging was Ginger Ale. Live and learn.

"Bob Hoskins? Never heard of him."

4. Kevin Bacon (Sean Nokes and Walter)- Sleepers and The Woodsman.

I'm pretty sure there is something legit wrong with Kevin Bacon. He couldn't content himself with fighting off mutant worm things in the desert in Tremors, so he decides to take a stab at being typecast as a child molestor. Everyone is entitled to make one movie where they play a rapist or a child molestor, but when you do it more than once dot dot dot. It doesn't help that Kevin Bacon seems kind of creepy to begin with, even in protagonist roles like Footloose or Apollo 13 - I thought he was going to do something dirty to Tom Hanks once they got on the other side of the moon. But he's not helping the situation when he commands a 13-year-old Brad Renfro to suck him off and then ass-rapes some other boys for two hours. He could make a movie where he just pets bunny rabbits for three hours, but the entire time, I would just be thinking, "When is he going to molest them?"

"Keep me away from Kevin Bacon!"

5. James Cromwell (Arthur Hoggett) - Babe

In an homage to Emma's undying love for anthropomorphic goodness (stay tuned for an as-yet uncompleted post dedicated to anthropomorphic bears, including Paddington <3), James Cromwell is basically the only character in this movie who's not a talking animal. I LOVE when talking animals outnumber talking humans. I cannot emphasize that enough. See Bound, Homeward. What is absolutely genius about this is that James Cromwell realized as soon as he stepped onto the set, "Okay, I can't out-act that pig or sheepdog. I'll just subtley stay in the background and command my talent from there." Totally pays off. He was shirked from Oscar goodness when Kevin Spacey played a pseudo gimp in the Usual Suspects. Bah!

As with several of his predecessors on this list, James Cromwell benefits from me not having seen a lot of his other work. However, he IS in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that I've seen about 25 times - Eraser, where he blows his brains out within the first 10 minutes of the movie, I suspect because he had to share a scene with Vanessa Williams, but we'll never truly know.

Arnold Schwarzenegger never makes out with black girls in his movies - he didn't neck Rae Dawn Chong in Commando either. But he's not averse to sucking face with the Hispanic population. Ask Maria Conchita Alonso, who plays Winona's father's hooker in House of the Spirits. Sometimes I love what I know.

The "Untitled Dakota Fanning Project" is coming out in two weeks. And I'm buying tickets, like, now.
"You're going to see the Dakota Fanning rape movie before you see The Queen?" - Alana.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Vice-Presidents Who Looks Like Richard Farnsworth, Etc.

This is Charles Curtis. He was VP under Herbert Hoover.

This is Richard Farnsworth. He played Matthew in the third best TV movie ever, Anne of Green Gables, which leads me into a retrospective concerning the most amazing movies that were unfortunately not shown on the big screen, but fortunately made it into my living room.

1. Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?

Not surprisingly, it is next to impossible to find any promotional material concerning this spectacularly titled, horribly acted Tori Spelling gem. The concept itself is nothing short of mouthdropping. Tori plays an attractive, intelligent woman (I know, I'm laughing too) who manages to attach herself to a possessive loon played by Ivan Sergei, who was seduced by Christina Ricci in The Opposite of Sex, which should have won hardcore Oscars, but that's another post altogether. I think he was also on Charmed, but since I am vehemently opposed to Alyssa Milano's career after Commando, I cannot say for certain.

Who's wishing they were Alyssa Milano right now, nuzzling up against bruised and battered Austrian sex? Raises hand.

Anyway, Ivan Sergei kidnaps Tori and ravages her in a log cabin and her mom (the woman Tom Cruise dumps in Cocktail) somehow finds out that he murdered his last girlfriend? I don't know. It's very irrelevent, but the imdb trivia page for this has the best random factoid ever:
During the early stages of filming, Spelling was bitten quite severely by a tame pangolin being used in an adjacent production. In certain scenes, bruising from her rabies inoculations are clearly visible.

They should totally make a movie called Captain Correlli's Pangolin starring the pangolin that bit Tori and...I don't know, another famous biter, like Mike Tyson.

2. She Cried No - renamed Freshman Fall.

No one can accuse Candace Cameron Bure from shirking her Full House audience. Man.
The same can be said for Mark Paul Gosselaar, who basically channels Zack Morris if Zack was raping DJ Tanner. What a concept. The second half of it slows down somewhat, since it's basically just about rape victims getting justice in the courtroom while a peeved Mark Paul looks on, and SVU has that arena pretty much sewn up. But the seducing of DJ in a frat house with 90s college rock in the background elevates this movie into the stratosphere. All it needed was Bob Saget and Uncle Jesse to show up to carry out their own brand of Full House justice.

Why do I get the feeling this is a different Uncle Jesse?

3. No One Would Tell.

Candace is truly the Ingrid Bergman of college-age abusive male partner TV movies. Damn. Once again, she manages to snare a mentally unstable psychopath played by a former child star. This time? Fred Savage. Of course. I don't remember the specifics - after all, the golden age of these TV movies was during the tumultuous pubescence of middle school - but I do recall Fred punching her out at a school dance and Sally Jesse making an appearance at one point. She has a mansion in Pennsylvania across the river from my hometown. Fact. And a girl from my high school got a makeover on her show and came back looking worse. Then the show went off the air.

Does anyone want to buy this for me for Christmas or something? Wasn't she also raped on 90210? Charlize?