Friday, July 30, 2010

Mr Mike's High School Record Collection: The Power Station - 33 1/3

Duran Duran played at a faux sophisticated James Bond edge in their new romantic era peak, so when it came time for the inevitable solo projects a natural combo was to see two of the Taylors (bassist John and guitarist Andy) team up with the 007 of rock - Robert Palmer (I'm assuming Roger Moore is not a great rock singer). Roping in producer Bernard Edwards assured deep grooves and a killer backbeat delivered by his longtime drummer Tony Thompson (Freak Out!). Originally intended as a one-off project with a rotation of singers, the project took on a life of its own when Palmer was made front man and they scores two Top 10 hits as a result. Taking their name from the New York recording studio they were in, The Power Station electrified Duran starved record audiences in 1985. And led a certain British blue eyed soul crooner down a path that was - wait for it - simply irresistible.

I was watching Saturday Night Live when they announced that The Power Station would be on. Had no idea who The Power Station was, recognized 3 of the 4 in the still image they showed on tv though. So on they came, playing "Some Like It Hot" and at some point in the song the two Taylors groove out and sandwich Palmer at his mic stand and I thought "They look a little...friendly..." Over time (and an inescapable presence on Top 4o radio) "Some Like It Hot" grew on me. That splashy Latin influenced percussion, Andy Taylor's spiky guitar solo and Robert Palmer's bald faced sex metaphors ("You want to multiply, are you gonna do it???") became da shizzle fo real. Little did I know this would be my first exposure to what I consider the single greatest drum performance ever - Tony Thompson kicks so much ass on this album it's ridiculous.

First song you're gettin' it on, next you're dealing with a dangerous woman. It really is James Bond! I didn't dig this tune until I saw it performed on Live Aid. As quickly as I had been surprised by the formation of Power Station I was equally shocked when I tuned in to find out Robert Palmer had been replaced by Michael Des Barres. At the time I rejected the Des Barres version for being a hollow replacement. Watching now, I can see Des Barres was a decent fit. A bit more Jagger swagger than the suave Palmer but good enough (Palmer had left the band to record his breakthru solo album Riptide). How sad that both these singers are no longer with us. Oops, just looked up on wikipedia that Des Barres isn't dead. Sorry bro.

Robert Palmer liked to button up in his fancy suit and groove to some soul. Anchored by a classic 80s funk soul groove (having Bernard Edwards produce helps) Palmer gives this track bite. Edwards was an awesome musician, having produced and performed with Chic, Diana Ross and a host of other greats. Tragedy seems to follow this band around with the exception of the two Taylors, Edwards died suddenly just before a Power Station reunion got off the ground in the mid 90s.

4. Communication

The plan was for Palmer to sing just this song, what would be the third (and least successful) single from the record (thank you wikipedia!). Personally, I loved this jam and thought it was the best combo of the group's funk/soul/rock/pop elements. The way the rhythm section of Thompson and John "pretty boy" Taylor lock in is impressive. To think, without "Communication" there never would have been an "Addicted To Love", "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" or "Simply Irresistible". We would have been robbed!

And now for the tune that really got me hooked on The Power Station. I've heard their cover of the T Rex classic described as "clunky" and "needless" but truth be told, I like PS' version better. It rocks harder with all band members firing off. Andy Taylor dominates with his buzz saw guitar lick, while John Taylor holds down the fort. Meanwhile, Bernard Edwards inserts some supreme bass popping for extra flava. Naturally Robert Palmer blazed through his bitten vocal, yet all these peeps take a back seat to Tony Thompson. If this album has my favorite drum performance of all time, this song is the pinnacle of killer drumming. Thompson hammers down the beat and displays a rare sense of power throughout. Tony Thompson is like a drum God hurling his stick at the unrepetant drum skins of awesomeness. Tony Thompson is like a nuclear explosion captured in a titanium bottle and shipped to the South Pole where his awesomeness can be let out and heard from a safe distance. Tony Thompson does't do push ups, he pushes the world down. Oh wait, that last one was Chuck Norris. He was so good he almost replaced John Bonham for a Led Zeppelin reunion (and did appear with Zep at their horrid Live Aid set). When I heard he had passed away in 2003 and if I remember right wasn't even playing drums (for some reason I think he was working with tires or insurance, probably wrong), I was truly saddened.

Interestingly, "Get It On" is the most identifiable song from the Des Barres era. The DB version of the group performed this one at Live Aid and also on Miami Vice. It's hard for me to believe this version was originally intended to back ex Playmate Bebe Buell aka the mother of Liv Tyler. Turns out John "bangs in the face" Taylor was dating Ms Buell at the time. Which is not to say that John Taylor was banging Bebe Buell in the face. I have no knowledge of that. I was referring to his hair!

A side note, Bebe Buell is one of those names that repeatedly pop up in rock history. She has been with several rock stars in addition to Taylor and Tyler, a list that includes Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren.

And now the moment you've been waiting for, the Michael Des Barres version of "Get It On" from their appearance on Miami Vice!

Maybe the only real weak link on the record, "Go To Zero" kinda goes there. It starts off OK with "Hey hey something something something Go To Zer-o" and then I forget the rest. Usually fast forwarded this one. Hmmm. What to muse on with this space? That I saw Andy Taylor perform live in '86 and he sucked? That John Taylor's "Do What I Do What I Do" is catchy in an annoying way? That I hated how Robert Palmer's "You Are In My System" was on the radio every half hour for a brief period of time? How about this: I really liked the album cover art of the "electric girl", even copied it for a high school art project at the time. I know, I'm a dork ;)

Thanks again wikipedia, I didn't know this was an Isley Brothers song. It's funny, Robert Palmer's voice sounds so different on this track I often wondered if one of the other band members sang it. And it brings about another question that has bugged me for decades - why wasn't this song performed at Live Aid? Doesn't it sound like a theme song for the event?

A nice ballad ending to an energetic album. Haunting and probably the track that is most remiscent of Duran Duran itself. It seemed the end of the Power Station after this song because the other releases were so low profile that I didn't know they existed until recently. The Des Barres version of the band recorded a song for Schwartzenegger's film Commando which I had no clue of despite seeing that move like twenty times. And the reunion album Living In Fear from 1996? Didn't know it existed until I saw it in a $2.00 used CD bin. I thought it was some compilation disc so I skipped it.

And that was all she wrote for The Power Station. Too bad they couldn't hold it together in the 80s when it counted but these guys had day jobs so it wasn't meant to be. The project seemed to make the biggest difference to Andy Taylor, after the freedom of this band and his solo hit "Take It Easy" he left Duran Duran for like 20 years. No more rhythm parts, time for a solo!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

KISS On My List Pt. 2

Been hooked on watching endless reruns of Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Simmons persona of retiring old fogey, shrewd business man and egomaniacal rock star makes for plenty of reality tv "moments". Flanked by his ex-Playmate girlfriend Shannon Tweed, their sarcastic son Nick and grounded daughter Sophie the clan finds lots of trouble to get in and out of with the most silly of consequences. It's happy time tv, a family sit com under the guise of a reality tv show peeling back the layers of rock stardom. Is it real? I don't think so, not fully anyway. Family Jewels shows a specific side of the family's life that displays a mutual love and sense of adventure they share. Things like actual conflict or real problems (like the legal wrangling taking place right now between Simmons and an ESPN makeup girl over alleged sexual harassment) have no place here. And story lines involving stalled cars (both Gene Simmons and the Tweed sisters have had this happen to them this year) or wacky romantic rendezvous has me convinced their episodes are being written by the creators of Growing Pains. But I love Growing Pains so I'm cool with that. Life is a party in this tv show and that's the appeal for me. So rock on Gene!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kiss Is On My List Pt 1.

Not out of touch but a little out of time for The Bird And The Bee.


Remakes of Hall & Oates you say? Blasphemy! Still, I was intrigued by the prospect of new age jazzers The Bird And The Bee tackling these revered classics on Interpreting The Masters Vol 1. Electro poppin where H&O bounced, B&B grooves with clever intricacy and buzzy sheen. Natch, singer Inara George's breathy vocals can't match Daryl Hall's blue eyed soul so she doesn't try to. This is Hall & Oates done Cost Plus style and the results wind up fittingly half and half. Like a new coat of paint hastily plastered on an aging fresco, there are moments of revised beauty and spots of threadbare wear for 'ol warhorses like "Sara Smile" or "Private Eyes". As honorably faithful it is to not change the gender on the girl-I-love-you lyrics relayed by Girl George, it starts to distract after awhile. Nothing wrong with girl to girl love songs, it just has to hit me more universally for me to dig it. Thankfully, B&B knock H&O's two deadliest grooves "Maneater" and "I Can't Go For That" out of the park. End result? Pretty good, could have been better. Or should I say "So close, yet so far away"?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Holy Effin Crap!

The ad for the upcoming movie The Expendables reads like a teenage Mr Mike's dream of hyperviolent action. I used to fantasize about a meeting between Stallone, Schwartzenegger, Willis (along with Norris and Gibson, who aren't in this) and how bad ass that would be. Expecting bad reviews and a kick ass time when this one finally gets on DVD!

Monday, July 12, 2010

No Life 'Til Leather

I was a late bloomer when it comes to interest in the music of Judas Priest. In their hey day, my knowledge of them began and ended with "You've Got Another Thing Comin". Wait, the other thing I knew was that the album Turbo had synth bass which critics slammed but I had one friend who got into Priest just for that record. Felt bad for them when they were unfairly tried in court for the suicide of two kids in the late 80s and was as surprised as anyone else when lead singer Rob Halford came out of the closet.

I didn't dislike Judas Priest, I just didn't care. A few years back that began to change, my wife had some Priest Cds and they sounded good to me. A song here or there would catch my ear. Then VH1 made them the Rock Honors or something and featured their music for an hour or two. Godsmack was one of the bands playing tribute to Priest and they came storming out with-

Hell Bent For Leather from the album Hell Bent For Leather (1978)

Godsmack's performance sold me on this song, the pithy verse delivery that led to the near operatic chorus killed.

Eventually I got The Essential Judas Priest which included this track, giving me free reign to play that bad boy to death :)

The song is also noted for being Rob Halford's entrance song where he rides his motorcycle onto the stage.

The song has been covered by other bands as well, including Annihilator and Warrant.

Such an awesome song, that's why it makes my favorite tune list of all time!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Waiting For Macca

Last night I made my way out to AT&T Park in San Francisco to see one of the two remaining Beatles in action, Sir Paul McCartney. The last time McCartney had played the Bay Area was in 1966, before I was even born! It was a cold evening in San Fran, overcast and chilly. Something that helped screen from the cold was the fact that the Park was overcrowded, walking on the concourse was like being shoved onto a conveyer belt of human beings carted from one place to another. Despite the 7:30 start time on the ticket, there was a longggg wait for the show to start. An endless scroll of McCartney memories went up and the huge rectangular video screens flanking the stage as a remix of Macca/Beatles hits jammed on and on. By 8:30 I would have been happy if Beatlemania hit the stage, I started to think that 7:30 was the time McCartney boarded the plane in England instead of a show time. Had enough time to grab a grossly overpriced Giants Dog (AT&T Park is where the San Francisco Giants play) and a Diet Coke. Once McCartney started playing around 8:40, I felt more like it was about time than excited. Macca's set list went like this:

Venus and Mars - Rock Show / Jet / All My Loving / Letting Go / Got To Get You Into My Life / Highway / Let Me Roll It / The Long And Winding Road / Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five / Let 'Em In / My Love / I'm Looking Through You / Two Of Us / Blackbird / Here Today / Dance Tonight / Mrs Vandebuilt / San Francisco Bay Blues / Eleanor Rigby / Something / Sing The Changes / Band On The Run / Ob La Di Ob La Da / Back In The USSR / I've Got A Feeling / Paperback Writer / A Day In The Life - Give Peace A Chance / Let It Be / Live And Let Die / Hey Jude

Encore 1: Day Tripper / Lady Madonna / Get Back

Encore 2: Yesterday / Helter Skelter / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

Opening with "Venus and Mars - Rock Show" would probably kill the start of most band's shows but with Sir Paul in the house people became unglued. "Jet" got the crowd more fired up as Mac proved his band was tight and capable of playing the big show. Macca was surrounded by a guitarist, a multi instrumentalist, a keyboardist and a large dramatic drummer. And then we did the time warp again as he launched into the first Beatles song of the night "All My Loving" complete with The Beatles: Rock Band graphics running in the background.

"Letting Go" slowed things down and let people sit before getting back up for a sharp take on "Got To Get You Into My Life". The bouncy ditty was one of the early highlights for me and showed how much of a workout the lone keyboardist was gonna have as he replicated the horn section parts on a synth. A surprise coda to "Life" was a brief instrumental run through Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" with some nice soloing by Sir Paul himself. He then told a nice story of meeting Hendrix and attending a show where Jimi asked Clapton to tune the guitar for him. Then it was back to obscureville for a song called "Letting Go". Dressed in a simple black suit, you could still see some hint of that cherubic youthfulness on Macca's aged mug.

"Let Me Roll It" was one I was looking forward to personally because it had that slow moving 70s rawk vibe I like. Mac then moved to a grand piano on the right of the stage to kick off the first of three (count 'em, three!) songs from The Beatles Let It Be album, "The Long And Winding Road". It was here I noticed how McCartney's voice was still in good shape for a man his age, still able to croon with some power and range. Also, it underlined how cold it was as you could see the steam from his breath as he sang. There was a misty condensation in the wet air, which happens in San Fran right next to the water.

The every-other-song-is-one-you-don't-know-unless-you're-a-true-fan pacing served up "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" next and continued Sir Paul's sit at the piano. Then another of my faves "Let 'Em In" (or as Keane likes to call it "Somewhere Only We Know") happily drifted through. The piano visit gave the crowd more time to rest in their seats as the lovely ballad "My Love" played. Since my wife didn't go to this show, I thought of her during this song.

Then it was flashback Beatles time again as the jaunty "I'm Looking Through You" came up complete with 60's organ sounds. At this point the mother of two young kids in front of me was getting hammered and dancing up a drunken swaying storm, which the boy started recording on his phone to probably plant on You Tube tonight (I saw the kid give the sign to his Dad that Mom had drunk seven beers midway through the concert). We then went to Let It Be track numero dos, "Two Of Us". And I went to the can.

The acoustics of AT&T Park carries sound well, though despite some clarity there was a bit of distortion and echo throughout the concert. So even in the can the acoustic "Blackbird" sounded very nice. I grabbed a small bag of popcorn on the way back to my seat. Maintaining the one for you-one for me pattern Mac strummed out "Here Today" .

Another highlight for me was hearing "Dance Tonight" from Mac's last studio effort Memory Almost Full, I like that song. And then "Mrs Vandebuilt". In a real nice touch, Mac and crew played "San Francisco Bay Blues" giving a nod to his location. At some point, not sure if it was here, Macca pointed to a crowd member with a sign saying "I was there at the Cow Palace in 1964 remember?" and jokingly reacted like he did remember that person.

An excellent take on "Eleanor Rigby", an all time classic song if there was one, took place. Macca busted out a ukelale and told a story about how he told George Harrison he had learned one of George's song on the ukelale. He then proceeded to kick off "Something" solo on the uke. It was sort of silly but had the intimacy of revealing an inside joke until it got to the guitar solo. The full band immediately kicked in with Mac's lead guitarist perfectly replicating Harrison's creamy tone as images of George faded in and out of the video screens, it was the emotional peak of the evening.

To pull it back there was one last pay-the-piper sort of tune with "Sing The Changes" before flying into hitsville with "Band On The Run". Macca took off his jacket and moved to a small piano in the front of the stage for a big audience sing along on "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da". Finally free of the one you know and one you don't section of the set list, the crowd got its groove on for a romping "Back In The USSR". Which I felt should have shifted to "Spies Like Us" at the end, but that's just me. A nice tale of Mac meeting the Russian government after a show and finding out Russians learned their English from Beatles records ensued. Apparently one Russian officer said this and shook Macs hand saying "Hello Goodbye".

The Beatles songs steadily racheted up the audience excitement level even with a false start on "I've Got A Feeling" and the nicely blended harmonies of "Paperback Writer". The ushers began to allow people to crowd the aisleways and it started to get packed with people in our area. I went to the can during "A Day In The Life". Which is quite a trippy song to take a whizz to. Got back in time for the John Lennon "Give Peace A Chance" crowd sing along.

The hymn like "Let It Be" unified the audience in time for the theatrical high light of the night, the James Bond theme "Live And Let Die". Out of nowhere, flashpots, pillars of flame and 4th of July fireworks broke out on and behind the stage. The near sold out crowd roared after the song, because it just kicked ass. With momentum at its peak, Mac moved to the center of the stage only to find his little piano was out of tune. So he moved to the big piano for "Hey Jude". The audience sang along to the "Na na na na" ending which closed the main part of the set.

A gaggle of tweens made its way next to our seating and with them high pitched screaming so loud it cut through my ear plugs and turned to white noise. So I was annoyed during the first encore of "Day Tripper", "Lady Madonna" and "Get Back" as the little girls danced, posed for pictures and excitedly rambled to each other throughout. I tried to remind myself this was probably what Beatlemania was like in its hey day. And was surprised that modern day tweens would love this music this much. Guess I'm just an old guy with no patience for youngun's.

For a second encore, McCartney played "Yesterday" acoustically which was great. I saw seagulls flying around the lip of the stadium in time with the song. We moved seats away from the screaming tweens to enjoy the last two songs, a hard rocking "Helter Skelter" and a triumphant "Sgt Peppers / The End".

All in all Paul McCartney put on a very good show. He himself had a good amount of energy and musical ability left, plus an easygoing demeanor in addressing the crowd. And now I can say I've seen royalty! Sir means royalty? No?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Last Action Heroes Volume 1

The recent Mel Gibson fiasco has me reflecting on my action heroes of the 80s. In High School I watched big dumb action flicks on a weekly basis at the local dollar theater and I loved them. The predictable plots! Unrealistic action sequences! Beautiful girls! And awesome smokey Ridley Scott rip off lighting! And of course, the cool as ice action hero with the kick ass fight moves, killer clothes and gettin the ladies! With Gibson spending the latter half of his career insulting every man, woman and child who isn't him, I've decided to reflect on those guys that lit up the silver screen with karate kicks and bad catch phrases. Because as Gibson (and Tom Cruise) has proven, your handlers can keep you under control for only so long before you decide to show America your nutty side.

Starring: Mel Gibson

Lame nickname I gave him: Mad Mel

Saw him first: Watching Mad Max at my best friend's house off his pirated HBO while waiting for his Dad to drive us to middle school in the morning. I'd never seen a movie that violent before. One guy throws a chain with a hook onto a moving car and it is later revealed his hand came off and is hanging off the car. Max's wife and child get run over. Max gets hit in the leg and has his arm run over before blowing away the cyclist with a sawed off shotgun. And the final blow up with giving the last gang member a choice of sawing off his leg or dying of a gas explosion. Gibson had a slightly crazed coolness about him that made it all work.

The High Point: A tie! The Mad Max sequel The Road Warrior was practically hell on wheels. Gibson's performance of a grizzled hollow man with a buried moral code is cruical to the story arc. And then there's Lethal Weapon 2, where Martin Riggs changes from suicidally crazy to wacky crazy. Like Bugs Bunny with a pistol and a mullet.

Guilty Pleasure: I admit it, I like the lame brained rom com actioner Bird On A Wire with Goldie Hawn. Yes, everyone sleeps walks through it the jokes aren't that funny and the action is standard, maybe I like it because of its mediocrity.

When I stopped caring: Believe it or not, it was Braveheart. Braveheart was a good movie too. His often repeated speech on the horse before the final battle was killer. I think he just became too respectable for me - he achieved credibility which in turn makes him less credible in bad action films (and you know that wouldn't last). Sometimes when an actor takes him or herself too seriously I lose interest. And I know it wasn't intentional, still I felt bad for Ted Danson when A Man Without A Face came out because people said the scarred side of Gibson's mug looked like May Day Malone.

What's happened since then: The success of Braveheart became Gibson's Thriller, he became so big he just lost his mind after that. For better or worse, Passion Of The Christ made him the symbol of religious zealotry. There isn't enough space on this blog to list all the people Mad Mel has put down and insulted since then, so let's just say he added the phrase "sugar tits" to the national vocabulary and leave it at that. Though I do wonder if after hearing about Gibson's latest racist outburst, if former co-star Danny Glover grumbled "I'm too old for this shit"?

One last shot: The character continuity thing that still kills me about the Martin Riggs character is this - in the first movie they say Riggs knows so much martial arts that he should be registered as a lethal weapon. He has a big fight at the end of the movie where he pulls out all these martial arts moves against Gary Busey. So why in Lethal Weapon 4 does Riggs repeatedly get his ass handed to him by martial artists in hand to hand combat? And uses zero martial arts moves? Did Jet Li scare the kung fu out of him? I can see if the character said he was rusty, but to completely forget expert level training when it's needed most is a huge continuity gap for me.

Next time...the Governator!

Friday, July 09, 2010


Even a caveman can do it

Just a quick post because I haven't put up anything in a while. A nice little Flashback to a time...well, a time that still exists - Supertramp without Roger Hodgson. Or Hogson. Or some other derivative. Anywho, minus the high voiced guy. "Cannonball" was their first single minus high voiced guy and in terms of repeat spins on the 'ol turntable is my most played Supertramp song evah. I loved that 45, with the people walking around sleeve and what not. "Cannonball" was a band song and I love band songs, every member gets their two cents in on this peace even the xylophone dude. And you ever notice how the xylo at the end kinda sounds like the James Bond theme?

Without Hogton the group was no longer Super leaving them...well, I think you know where I'm going with this. This one takes me back to sitting on the bean bag chair of my teenage room, looking at my wall of glorious REO Speedwagon posters while figuring out how to play Marvel SuperHeroes Role Playing Game and ignoring my homework due the next day.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Mr. Mojo Rising

Heartbreaker, dream maker, love taker don't you mess around no no no!


and a half

Tom Petty, rock and roll purist that he is, has gone back to his roots for the new album titled Mojo. Which is saying a lot considering his music was rootsy to start with. On Mojo, Petty and the Heartbreakers turn back the clock to the late 60s when rock was bluesier. Hard edged guitar riffs, organ bits skidding around and some psychedelic jamming takes over in a big way. This is probably the best "band" effort since 1999's Echo.

Speaking of the band, the stand out performance has to be lead guitarist Mike Campbell's. Long regarded one of the finest and most tasteful guitarist in rock, Campbell has made a name for himself based on economical solos and meaty grooves. On Mojo, Campbell cuts loose with extended solos that sizzle and bite with ferocious power. If you ever listened to his playing before and wondered what the big deal was, here's the disc to listen to.

Petty responds with some fine songwriting, the silly offhand "Candy" is my personal favorite. The heavy rockin "I Should Have Known It" has a strong impact as does the classic Petty sounding "Running Man's Bible". In another shot of welcome humor, the band does lite reggae to Petty's current ode to Mary Jane "Don't Pull Me Over". There isn't a bum track on the lengthy 15 cut disc.

Mojo is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in a natural and fully inspired moment. An amazing album.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Oooh Ooooh...Growin Up...

Sandler and crew take a busman's holiday in Grown Ups.


Went to see the new Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups which if I wanted to trash I guess I could have called Groan Ups or Thrown Ups except it wasn't that bad. Sandler made his name on playing young adults with a juvenile heart (and mental capacity) which won him a bit of success, yet it was playing up his soft mushy side that really got him over with The Wedding Singer. Over the years he's tried to be more dramatic (like every successful comic) developing a mildly disturbed moon face to anger persona. With Grown Ups, Sandler pools his talents with a slew of other ex-SNLers (Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Maya Rudolph, that Colin guy that used to do Weekend Update, Tim Meadows) and worthy stand alone talents (Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Steve Bucemi) to make a slightly bland family comedy.

As far as family comedies go, Grown Ups is pretty good. Sure, the film drowns in sappy sentimentality a third of the time and there are plenty of predictable jokes like the gassy Granny or the hot girls that came from an ugly Dad. At the same time there is a feeling of genuine comraderie (which probably is helped by the SNL alum status) and all performers comic timing is on point. Schneider even gets to play against type, channeling his obnoxiousness into a touchy feely character. And there are bits of laugh out loud humor amid the overbearing heart warming nature of the flick.

Midway through the story loses some cohesiveness trying to balance the multitude of characters and subplots. In some ways Grown Ups is reminscent of those Burt Reynolds movies he used to make back when he was a big star, when he'd get a bunch of his buddies together under the loose idea of "Lets make a movie together" and just have a thinly sketched beginning and end while throwing random pieces in the middle. Still, Grown Ups manages to pull things together at the end to have a satisfying finish.

Grown Ups is probably the most family friendly movie Sandler has made yet. Of course with this theme the normally off the wall or raunchy vistas these guys usually call home seem neglected. Which is why the most enjoyable parts are when the five guys (Sandler, Spade, Rock, Schneider and James) are alone together, they're allowed to unleash some of their harsher sided humor with it still considered to be "just joshin". Like when all four of the guys riff on Schneider for referring to corn as maize throughout the film is funny.

The sheer amount of talent involved manages to elevate Grown Ups to a cut above the standard family movie fare. Just a little bit. Timeliness helps too, the 4th of July time period of the movie fits perfectly with, well, today. Grown Ups won't rock your world, but it will make you comfortable and give some good laughs along the way. Or maybe it will rock your world if you dig the soundtrack, I haven't heard that much J.Geils Band in a movie since Fright Night!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Dance Baby Dance

Remember this creepy thing? I was not a fan of the Dancing Baby fad, I thought it looked a bit zombieish. But it was state of the art CGI for the time. Maybe if I was an Ally McBeal fan I would have liked it more. Did not get this thing at all.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Catching Up With...

What do we do now Dr Zaius?

Some random things came up today so here I am to pontificate on them. I said pontificate, not...forget it. No Cleveland Steamer.

McDonald's Billboards Are Dumb As Hell - First I saw some McDonalds billboard that said something like "This cup of coffee is not Joe, he's Joseph" and then today I saw another one that said "These hotcakes are selling like" with a picture of a hotcake. It's like they hired a third grade class to run their freakin ad campaign. What's the next dumbass slogan going to be? "Childhood obesity live the fantasy?" "Are you stuffin' that egg mcmuffin?" "The French don't want you to have these fries, but we do?" Can I be an ad exec now? Am I hired?

Annoying Bullllllhorn - And the overexposed movie commercial of the week is: Inception. Some crap about Lou Diamond Phillips - no wait, it's Leo DiCaprio - living in dreams and stuff blowing up while upside down and who cares. Watch it's going to be the next Matrix and I'll end up eating my words. All I know is when this commercial hits the tv gets busy and a loud bullhorn blows. Blows like this movie.

A Swaggering Angle Lock - So I was watching Friday Night Smackdown for the first time in months. Jack Swagger is wrasslin Big Show and he's got Show on the ground. Next thing I know Swagger picks up Big Show's foot and applies the Angle Lock (a move where you grab the guy's foot, hold the ankle against your chest and twist the foot). Wow, they gave one of Kurt Angle's signature moves to the new guy. I'm sure Kurt Angle didn't invent the move or anything, he's just the guy I associate the move with the most. Consider me blown away.

Theresa Started It - As much as Danielle on the Real Housewives of New Jersey is a psycho, it was bankrupt diva Theresa that provoked an altercation on a recent episode. After months of no face to face contact between the two, Theresa confronts Danielle at a fashion show to say "hi". It was like when a guy throws some punches and as he gets pulled off the other dude he says "What? I just wanted to talk to him!" There's also a supposed sex tape out there of Danielle in all her plastic surgery altered self and all I can say to that thought is...ewwww No. Hell No! Gotta give props for these gutter trash, you gotta fight for those ratings points!

Not Very R.A.D. - Remember when Motley Crue's Vince Neil crashed a car and killed his friend resulting in a slew of hypocritical rock against drugs adverts? Well, Vince doesn't and so he was arrested for drunk driving again. Right after proclaiming his long term sobriety.

Electric Goof - 80s mall queens Tiffany and Debbie Gibson are gonna battle in a tv movie. Gibson will have to watch out for Tiffany's trademark Egyptian darting hand move best seen in the "I Saw Him Standing There" video. Look out Gibson, she'll take your eye out!

I'm Too Old For This Sh*t - Mad Mel Gibson makes a PR mess again this time throwing around racial insults. Hard to believe once he was so cool, now he's a prime douche.

That's all I got, until the next time.