Tag Archives: Entertainment Weekly

I never heard it but I knew the unknown

You ever come across something totally foreign to you and yet you distinguish it? You know of things even if you have never physically interacted with them? I’m not talking about watching commercials for amusement parks or other famous locales and then going to them.  I mean something more personal and yet something more physically removed than having seen or heard whispers about an item and then having it thrust on you by chance. Continue reading

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Filed under Medical, Music / Lyrics, The Life

Upon further review

I like reading Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly (side note, Uncle Stevie — sorry but I let my subscription run out after 15+ years as a subscriber. Too much tabloidism now in the magazine and not enough industry coverage) and a couple of months ago I read Stevie’s Wonders which was King’s top 24 rock and roll songs.

The thing that got me was when I read the following paragraphs…

”Best rock songs of all time,” he says. ”That subject always starts arguments, especially if you don’t put ‘Stairway’ on there.”

I realized he was right. Especially since the idea of putting ”Stairway to Heaven” on such a list grosses me out. So I decided to take my biker buddy up on his idea. Twenty-four great songs, one for every hour of the day, picked by the Infallible Me.

I began by throwing out most of those Internet lists, because they’re full of ballads (”Tears in Heaven” as rock & roll? Oh, really?), soul (”When a Man Loves a Woman” is a great song but it’s not rock), and tunes that have been played to death. There’s also an amazing number of draggy songs on the lists, like ”Hotel California.” When would I like to hear that one again? Uh…how does never work for you?

As much as certain songs are classics — they are more pop than rock. “Hotel California” — that’s a folks rambler of a pop song (at least the live version, gotta listen to the original again but it’s soft rock if anything). “Tears in Heaven” is a ballad and not boot-stompin, shit-kicking rock. You know, the type of songs that make you want to groove your thing all over the place.

That got me thinkng of the Beatles a lot. Now, anyone who knows me knows that the Beatles have had a profound effect on me, so this should seem like only a natural conclusion. While there are plenty of songs in the Beatles library (under Lennon/McCartney, Harrison or Starkey) that could vie for a place on King’s list… It was the one song that is forever identified with the Beatles that made it: She Loves You.

King talks about how the song “gets in, does it’s business and gets out” as why it’s the top Beatles song and also shows King’s justification why a number of songs by a number of artists didn’t make the cut — they linger. They dwell. They overstay their welcome. She Loves You clocks in at 2:22. In, out, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.

Yet my opinion differs. I’ll add a little length in time to my selection versus Uncle Stevie’s choice in saying “She Loves You” ain’t the top Beatles rock’em, sock’em song. I could single out any number of songs that can be more than “She Loves You” but lets keep it the older fair simply because the Beatles of 1963 didn’t have multiple overdubs, double tracking and such. It was pure, it was simple, it was ruined by screaming fans when performed live.

At any rate, the one on my mind is more of a rock and roll classic than “She Loves You” IMHO. If “She Loves You” can be labeled a Beatles-only song (and from listening to it this morning, I couldn’t help but realize how it epitomizes the early Fab 4 with “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and the vocal harmonizing in their ooh’s), the one on my mind is the Rock God’s ode that ranks up there with classics from Berry, Holly, Little Richard, etc.

I Saw Her Standing There:

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 !

Well, she was just 17,
You know what I mean,
And the way she looked was way beyond compare.
So how could I dance with another (ooh)
And I saw her standin’ there.

Well she looked at me, and I, I could see
That before too long I’d fall in love with her.
She wouldn’t dance with another (whooh)
And I saw her standin’ there.

Well, my heart went “boom,”
When I crossed that room,
And I held her hand in mine…

Whoah, we danced through the night,
And we held each other tight,
And before too long I fell in love with her.
Now I’ll never dance with another (whooh)
Since I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went “boom,”
When I crossed that room,
And I held her hand in mine…

Whoah, we danced through the night,
And we held each other tight,
And before too long I fell in love with her.
Now I’ll never dance with another (whooh)
Since I saw her standing there

2:55 makes it a little long by Uncle Stevie’s standards but come on… This goes away from the banal love-love-love and brings you the pure primal urges of a cocky kid at a dance. Where you get stuck with the yeah-yeah-yeah’s in the refrain of “She Loves You”, the worst you suffer here is trying to figure out the answer “How could I dance with another girl / When I saw her standing there?”

Of course, “She Loves You” comes off more like a stampede in it’s delivery (just listen to Ringo Starr’s lead in on drums and that sets the tempo for the delivery of the entire song), “When I saw her standing there” comes at you raw but on target in the sense of a garage band who got recording studio time and made the most of it.

Isn’t that what Rock’s about? Get in, get out — I agree with King on this — but then you have that non-honed element that has gotta be there. Something like you’re enjoying yourself but you’re just wigging out, showing your feelings in what you’re singing. You listen to Paul telling you “She was just 17 / and you know what I mean” and you know what he means. Either if you are the guy or the girl.

Maybe you see my point, maybe you entirely disagree. Cast your vote below:

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You may also want to comment and leave your thought son things, that’s all right and good to. There are a ton of originals that the Beatles wrote and performed that could be listed but try not to go past 1965 if you want to list another song.

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Filed under Entertainment Industry Thingies, Music / Lyrics

Stand alone Pottermania

Ever since Chris Columbus left the Harry Potter movie franchise I’ve found the movies to be both entertaining and thrilling. I had read the first book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone) and was totally aghast when I saw how incredibly lame it came off.
It compelled me not to read another Potter book to avoid similar disappointments… at least until after I had my curiosity piqued by way of the film adaptations of Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire.

The latter film had enough of a hook to make me want to know what was going to happen next… It nagged at me. I didn’t care for the film as much as Prisoner of Azkaban when I first saw it because it ran so long and had so much going on… But it grew on me. Repeated watchings made me appreciate it more and the ending compelled me to return to Potter literature.

Cal it a Wrath of Khan/Empire Strikes Back negative closing and how it makes you ponder where the story goes from there. Goblet of Fire pulled it off (even if the film lacked the multiple side stories that J.K. Rowling worked into the book).

So I picked up Order of the Phoenix and read it through – finding Rowling’s narration exquisite and the story compelling just as I found the first book to be. While I’ve read about the new movie (due out this summer) through Entertainment Weekly and about which side stories are shelved (Ron playing quidditch, Dobby the house-elf making a return, etc) there is enough going on to keep you interested.

And after seeing the International trailer for the film — I’m dying to see this adaption:

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Deductable "Prestige"

Last year, there was a bit of a hoopla made out for Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige… A tale of dueling illusionists at the turn of the century. The castings of Christian Bale and Michael Caine made me think Nolan was tied up with his Bat-crew. Hugh Jackman being cast gave my fan-boy heart a lift. Wolverine vs. Batman! In turn of the century London! Bloody good show!

So when I read Stephen King lauding the film in Entertainment Weekly late last year, it just refreshed my desire to see this film and it’s “outstanding twist of an ending”.

(EDIT NOTE: King lauded The Illusionist. I suspected this and had rented the movie specifically because of it. It was my brother who made a big deal about The Prestige‘s twist ending)

A few weeks back, I watched The Illusionist with Edward Norton and after my older brother watched it — he told me it wasn’t shit compared to The Prestige. “There is a surprise ending. It’s awesome. I saw it in theaters, you have gotta get it when it comes out on DVD.”

Me and Michael usually can enjoy the same movies so I thought I would be in for a real treat by the time I got to see the film on DVD.

I’m still waiting for that “surprise ending.”

Maybe it was because of the tip offs that the ending had a twist, but more likely it was a failing of craftmanship by Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan (superb filmmakers, I’m just a blogging critic with no credibility) in trying to hide the ending. Hell, maybe they didn’t set out for it to be a surprise at all? Never the less, I wasn’t floored by the “fooling” that took place.

While I loved The Illusionist specifically for it’s cinematography (19th century Vienna done gorgeously), I loved Prestige more for it’s actors as I had said above. Jackman, Caine, Bale — a superb threesome at the top of the bill. Yet as the movie unfolds, the pairing of Caine and Jackman’s characters over and over again don’t seem to properly balance with Bale. In fact, Jackman and Caine came off like antagonists at times, while Bale’s character’s shroud of mystery was both too revealing and too charismatic. You knew things would turn around for him at one point and all you had to do was wait. Wait. Wait.

They didn’t really turn around but lets just say he won in the end, and the fact he did wasn’t a secret or a surprise ending. Anyone watching can deduct what was going to happen by simple banter between Bale and Jackman before the two illusionist trainees had their falling out.

Nolan’s tale is worth checking out even without my little clue listed below. It reaches across two continents and has a grand mixing of characters and incidents. But from the get go you could see enough to know the hook….

***SPOILER WARNING (vague but a Spoiler) ***

A total devotion to ones craft is mentioned early in the film, and like any mystery it’s the line that should stand out. In fact, this is something that should easily be deduced even before the film starts. Any magician has to put on a charade for the public. A grand charade both on and off the stage in order to convince people.

Dual personalities, dual physical characteristics and conditions, dual memories. Dual memories.

While someone forgetting what knot they tied around the hands of an assistant who gets killed tragically makes sense — the grief, the horror, the shock all taking it’s tole on the psyche — it makes more sense if you weren’t there at all when it happened. You need to make an excuse and your other persona needs to employ that excuse in order to keep your character believable.

***END SPOILER ***

Yeah, that’s not a clear revealing of the “surprise ending”. The movie is good enough to watch that you should. Just pay attention.

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Filed under Movies

White Chicks

I started looking at my Summer Movie Preview edition of Entertainment Weekly (at newsstands everywhere starting today) and came across a picture I just couldn’t believe… I mean it REALLY had floored me…

On page 52 there is a preview for White Chicks and it’s Shawn “SW1” Waynes and Marlon Waynes done up as white girls… and the thing is — before I saw the trailer, I honestly couldn’t tell these were people in make up… let alone African-American…. Let alone the Waynes Brothers who I have known from various entertainment endeavors for close to 15 years now.

This isn’t the picture in the magazine (which takes place in a dance club) but it gives you a ghist of the two guys in drag… Quite a transformation, no? Not just gender but color too…

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Shaken, not stirred, rattled or rolled…

“Simply Smashing! A sound introduction to action, espionage and the music scene!”Spin Magazine

“In touch with their deft side…..a clever comeback for music….”Entertainment Weekly

“Double-Oh-Wow!”Rolling Stone

Ladies and Gentlemen — Introducing Swinging Sean Connery and his Double-Oh-Seven Band!

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Jonathan Brandis DOA

Is anyone aware that Jonathan Brandis died?

For the few out there that have no clue who he is at first mention of the name, he was one of the teenage heart-throbs of the early 1990’s. He was a guy who was coveted for TV and movie roles – a tee4n that was coveted for those roles at least – and he was someone who got the BOP covers and stuff like that.

Well, Jonathan is dead.

It came as a shock for me to see this bit of news. I had been wondering whatever happened to him and things like that – he had starred with Rodney Dangerfield in Ladybugs, had some NBC adventures in Seaquest DSV but basically disappeared once he reached that peculiar age of being a teen and a young adult. You know, sort of like Macaulay Culkin and how he disappeared for a bunch of years and stuff like that.

But Brandis, though I haven’t cared to look up details on anything about him since his Seaquest Days, was so down on life that he committed suicide or was believed to have committed suicide which ended his life the week before at the age of 27.

I don’t know why I get chills thinking about that, or why I am so disturbed by this, I guess it’s to see a part of my childhood end his life tragically like this, and with barely any acknowledgment that just…. bothers me. He was bigger than a brief mention in Entertainment Weekly, though he could be poster boy for queer from what anyone growing up around you would tell you… he just looked too pretty boy to believe… but he was the It boy and… Well, I salute him here — Rest in Peace Jonathan. You did have some fans out there and they will not forget you.

**UPDATE** 4-09-04
I’d like to point site visitors to http://jonathanbrandis.org/ I am not sure if they are officially tied to Brandis but it sure as hell looks official while my little rag tag blog has nothing to do with Jonathan besides being a fan who spoke out on Brandis’ death while the Media overlooked it

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