An avid movie collector reviews movies, games, and TV shows for the common man, among other things. Spoiler Free

Monday, December 29, 2003

Christmas Goodies

Ah the year was good for DVD's, and in addition to my previous DVD acquisitions I also received.

The Silence of the Lambs - Criterion Edition - Thanks Julie

I own many many Criterion DVD's now, and this one is probably the most rare. It went out fo print some time ago, and has a commentary track that includes everyone important from the picture.

The Indiana Jones Series - Thanks Mom and Dad

It is a bare bones collection (Stupid Spielberg) with very few features, but I have delayed the purchase of this trilogy for the fated day they would release it on Widescreen DVD. One of the few trilogies that was great throughout, despite people who hate the finale with Sean Connery. Idiots...

R.E.M. The Videos - Thanks Julie

All the R.E.M. videos from their career with Warner Bros. which is a nice collection. Further enhances my R.E.M. library.

Blue Man Group - Live from the Complex Tour - Thanks Mom and Dad

Julie saw this in Barnes and Noble and it was the selection that I spent my gift card on, they were one of the most memorable concerts I saw in my lifetime, so why shouldn't I have it immortalized on DVD. Nice quality, plus I get the music videos with Dave Matthews and Bush's Gavin Rossdale.

Fargo - Thanks to the Persings

The Coen brothers are neat, and this movie has some interesting flavor to it. Once again I yearn for some of that commentary.

No Doubt - Boom Box - Thanks Mom and Dad

I wanted this the moment it was announced. This collection is 2 cd's and 2 dvd's, the first cd is the greatest hits collection, and the second is the rarities and covers collection. The first DVD is all their videos, and the second is a live show. What more could you want? I guess maybe a poster or something.

The Italian Job - Thanks Glenn

I already owned this but as a fool I accidentally bought it in full screen instead of widescreen (Because part of my mind wonders why Full Screen even exists and forgets to consider it) Luckily, my cousin Glenn is one of the people who like Full Screen and when he got the Widescreen for Christmas we traded. Thank God

I also received two magazine subscriptions

Q - Thanks Mom and Dad

Q Magazine is probably going to quickly become my favorite music magazine, and I can't wait to get the first issue.

Script - Thanks to the Dynows

Some quality articles and very few ads, just like I like it. Sadly, its a Bi-Monthly so I will have to digest them slowly. Although I think unlike most of my magazines I think these are worth repeat readings.

My Criterion Collection
The Year in Movies

Dave has made a end of the year countdown of the movies he saw, and CJ informed me that I had to do a similar thing. Since I haven’t been blogging all year some of these are new, and some of these may have come out last year but I watched them for the first time this year. I couldn’t find a list anywhere of everything that came out so I know I missed some but here is my list for now. I am playing Fatal Frame at the time of writing though so I think my little blurbs are a bit lacking.

My year sucked as far as new movies, I had a harder time figuring out which movies sucked more than which ones were excellent.

31. National Security
This movie hurt to watch, hurt real bad. Martin Lawrence should be banned from movies because of this. Just punch yourself in the face and you experienced this movie.

30. Hulk
This movie was just poorly conceived. They chose to pursue far more then they could in a two hour movie, and failed at achieving anything at all. Hopefully, they will spare us from a sequel.

29. Bad Boys 2
Just mindless action and stupid banter. A shame to its successor, and a waste of money.

28. Matrix Revolutions
Ruined the first movie for me it was so bad. I don’t think I will be able to enjoy The Matrix for a few years, and only if I never watch Revolutions again.

27. Tears of the Sun
Bruce Willis is about 20 years older than he needs to be to believably play a Special Forces soldier. And as far as interesting stories go this one gets an “F”. The first movie I have seen with Monica Belucci that sucked.

26. A Guy Thing
This one was kind of fun, and I like Jason Lee, but I never cared for the premise or execution of this movie.

25. Old School
I laughed a few times, but this movie was far more adolescent than I was hoping. Could have been better.

24. No Good Deed
It was lacking a significant something to make it memorable. It’s like a good “B” movie that you watch late at night on HBO. I enjoyed watching it, but it wasn’t special.

23. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
A poor remake, but I gave it a better position because if I forsake its heritage it was a decent teen horror.

22. The Recruit
I don’t like Colin Farrell, I don’t think I ever will. I liked the beginning when they are training but then I cashed out.

21. Wrong Turn
Eliza Dushku in an uninspired horror movie, but I enjoyed it despite myself. Go figure

20. Chicago
I didn’t much care for it, and I have a limited love of musicals and Richard Gere. But it was stylish and Queen Latifah is in it.

19. Animatrix
I really wanted more from this, but it did answer some of the questions that arise from pondering the Matrix universe. Only a few of them are worth repeat viewings.

18. Bulletproof Monk
I enjoyed it, but only by removing the critical and analytical part of my mind. Seann William Scott and Chow Yun Fat were a comical mix, and except for the extreme use of wire work I would have liked it more.

17. 25th Hour
I didn’t really latch on to this movie, but great acting and some interesting questions came from this movie so…17th place.

16. Anger Management
It was probably one of Sandler’s worst movies, but Jack Nicholson is hilarious even when his scenes shouldn’t be.

15. 28 Days Later
I disengaged at the end which left a sour taste in my mouth, but it had some great zombie moments, and I really liked some of the new ideas that they mixed into the zombie movie realm.

14. The Rundown
I like the Rock, and this movie was probably his best yet. There was some good action and comedy, but Seann William Scott was off his game and Christopher Walken was underused.

13. The Life of David Gale
It had a good ending and plot, but I would have traded Kate Winslet for almost anyone else in Hollywood.

12. Matrix Reloaded
Some great action sequences but a dumbing down of a good thing. The series was beginning to piss all over itself, but you still believed that good things were possible.

11. The Grey Zone
More of an artsy picture, but the acting and premise were intriguing. And in retrospect, I think Harvey Keitel was actually scary as an unpredictable Nazi guard.

10. Darkness Falls
I can’t believe this made the top ten. It was a good fast paced horror film with some nice special effects. The pacing and jumps are used very well, and are the sole reason this movie made it this high in the list.

9. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
As far as romantic comedies go this one was pretty good. It was missing a single actor or actress that I really like, but it was consistently funny.

8. Kill Bill Part 1
A stylish and clean version of the gratuitous kung-fu movies of the past. It was a bit gory but as a guy I liked it.

7. Italian Job
I enjoyed this ensemble heist movie more than Ocean’s Eleven because the cast was more enjoyable and better suited for their respective roles. It was far more humorous, and it had chase scenes and action where Ocean’s Eleven was only interesting for the finale.

6. Finding Nemo
A bit sappier than the other Pixar movies, but was still a beautiful thing with continued excellence in voice work.

5. Bruce Almighty
Jim Carrey returns to comedy and it fits him well. This religious comedy was funnier with a Theological background and Morgan Freeman was awesome no matter who you are.

4. Identity
I liked the ending unlike Dave, and even without the ending the movie was a straight enjoyable thriller with a better cast then we will see for many years.

3. X-2
The X-Men series is definitely the best Marvel franchise, and it continued without decline with the addition of quality characters like Nightcrawler, Pyro, and some possible future teammates like Colossus.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean
I enjoyed this movie a lot, mostly because of Johnny Depp, but it was a great feel-good movie with action and intrigue. I’m a sucker for feel good stuff.

1. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The grand finale to the best movie series of all time. Everything you could want in a movie and then some.

That's my list, I may update it again when I am more coherent. But for now thats all you get.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The scream tally is now at 3. Fatal Frame 2 is evil.

Return of the King Review for PS2

Instead of reviewing the movie I will review the game. This game is difficult, and Jon and I gave up on the Hobbit quests when we had to navigate the spider cave. The hack and slash elements of the game are intense and wonderful especially with the powerful characters like Aragorn, Legolas, and Gandolf; I chose Legolas and his twin blades slew many an Orc. The upgrade system was choice, and the co-op (which is most of what I played) is the highlight of the game, but I do have some reservations about the gameplay. The biggest complaint is that whenever you die no matter where in the level you have to replay the whole thing. So if you defeat thousands of Orcs and reach the boss and die, Congrats you are back to Orc killing. After replaying the 30 minute level several times you cannot bear to play it again, and when we got to the maze spider level with the hobbits we quit. That reason alone would keep me from buying it, but it is still a great rental game. For you LOTR fans there are many unlockable DVD features like cast interviews and concept art, all of which were very enjoyable.

Kill.Switch Review for PS2

This game has pretty regularly receiving 6’s and 7’s in the world of reviews and I think I would agree in part but in enjoyment I find it better then many of the similar games that received higher scores. It is far simpler and user-friendly then Socom and a bit stealthier than Freedom Fighters so I think it deserves a bit more credit. The concept of the game is that as a soldier you would fight more according to your surroundings then just running around and capping bad guys. Therefore, the shooting system hinges on your use of cover, so you run into a room and hide behind an overturned table and peek out to throw grenades and take shots at your enemies. The strength of the game is its realism because that is much the way we would combat in reality, it felt more believable because I do the same techniques when playing Paintball, whereas I usually run amuck Rambo style in many other games. The other strength of the game is the flashbang (which is a grenade-like device that is non-fatal it just emits a bright flash and loud squeal that renders people near it useless) which causes different reactions from the soldiers you assault, one is that they crawl screaming into the fetal position clutching their heads, or two they scream and fire their guns wildly as they dance about in agony. I love using the flashbang before any large group assault because it is hilarious. I also deeply enjoy the diving roll that you use to quickly get behind cover; it is fun even when unnecessary. The complaints that I have with the game is that the free roaming combat is awkward, so when you rush an opponent it is hard to aim. And the ability to turn around is a bit slow, and I would have dedicated a button to a quick turn had I designed the game. Overall, a sweet hot game, which I will probably keep out for a month or so, and I would recommend for rental after you rent Freedom Fighters which is probably a little better.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Fatal Frame 2 Review for PS2

I can only review this in regard to its enjoyment as a spectator; I am too scared to play it myself. Therefore, I can’t tell you about gameplay and the controls. This game is better than its predecessor and any other horror game in existence because the scare factor is intense. The storyline doesn't have as many off-shoots as the original and is therefore more linear, and the story is just now really coming together in chapter 5 where we currently are playing. I don't think I like the story in this one as much as the first but I still have much to see, and although it is the framework of the game, the story is secondary to the disturbing jumps that accompany it. The jumps come in many shapes, sizes, and forms throughout the game, most notably by the various ghosts you encounter. But Kudos to the music team because the soundtrack really messes you up once you start to lose your grip, and the locations in the game play with your mind with the way the shadows and shapes look and move. Plus, the development team is evil and the more attentive you are the more you will see, like images may flash, objects may contort, and ghosts may walk by. For the reasons I give below I couldn't give the game less than a 10, because I will bear the scars of this game for the rest of my life, and no other game can say that.

This game is the first thing ever in my life, movie or otherwise that has made me scream out loud and I wasn’t alone, 4 of us screamed and jumped, and I might have soiled myself. This continued for awhile. The game didn't start out this scary but once we started looking for "Secret Ghosts" we started to lose control of our wits. All told I have now screamed uncontrollably twice and emitted an "Oh my God" once. Tonight, we re-enter the world of Fatal Frame and I assume that I will double that number. If you think you have what it takes to play this game, make sure you also prepare some pleasant entertainment to help you calm your nerves so that you can continue playing and eventually go to bed without nightmares. I would like to give props to George for his ability to even play this game, and while I immediately scream like a girl when something unexpected happens, he has the wits to pause the game before throwing the controller and screaming. I don't know how he does it.

Major George is on the Web

I have added George's new Video Game review site to my links, to those of you who have a Gamecube or a Gameboy Advance make sure to check in. But we own all the systems and he plans on reviewing classic games as well. Expect good things.
Supporting Actor of the Week

Steve Buscemi

I have decided that high profile Supporting Actors are suitable for my site, because without them my weekly post may become really obscure. So to announce this alteration of the rules that existed only in my head I have dedicated today’s post to probably one of the most recognizable and respectable supporting actors in the business, Steve Buscemi. I have seen him play every type of role during his career, his most popular being the angry jerk from movies like Reservoir Dogs and Fargo, but he has done exceptionally well in other roles such as a creepy serial killer (ConAir), a sexually disoriented police officer (Double Whammy), a teenage girl’s obsession (Ghost World), a conniving Jewish prisoner (The Grey Zone), an overzealous guitarist (Airheads), a bum (Big Daddy), an evil invisible monster (Monsters Inc.), and the list goes on and on. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe that he is the only Supporting Actor who I have featured who has hosted Saturday Night Live and appeared on The Simpsons. He has done more than just act during his career, but he has also written and directed some quality movies, his best being Animal Factory which starred Willem Dafoe and Edward Furlong as they bonded in prison. If there is a supporting actor in the business whose name you ought to know its Steve Buscemi. For recommended viewing this week I recommend whatever you feel like watching, because there is a 65% chance that Steve will be in it anyway.

Alright, so anyway…

Rolling Stone this week printed an article on which they pretty much say everything I said about Justin Timberlake just more eloquently and verbose. I didn’t know about the article and it appeared in the mail today to mock me. Even worse I think the street date for the magazine was before my Friday posting of the blog so I wasn’t even first. So um, I have better pictures and um…I’m more concise. So there.

Christmas Delights

I had a gathering with my friends in Delaware and these are the DVD’s that I got.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – Thanks Chris
The only time Steve Martin and John Candy teamed up and what a team they made. The best road trip comedy next to National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Natural Born Killers – Thanks CJ
This movie was much more intelligent that I imagined it would be, and I have been dying to watch it with commentary. Now it is possible.

From Dusk till Dawn – Thanks CJ
The weirdest blend of horror and action yet, and three different roles played by Cheech Marin! Plus this is my first George Clooney movie, hoorah for him.

CJ bought me two movies directed by two different directors but written by Quentin Tarantino and both featured Juliette Lewis (Who made my female all-star list because of them*), freaky coincidences.

*I have an All-Star list that consists of actors who have appeared in 5 or more of my movies and actresses or directors who are featured in 3 or more of my movies. I plan on making future posts dedicated to the All-Stars that are heavily featured in my movie collection.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The New Holy Trilogy

Since I am on a rampage of destroying classic titles I am going to officially strip Star Wars of its title of “The Holy Trilogy” for two reasons. One, it is no longer a trilogy. And two, Lord of the Rings is superior in almost every way imaginable. I don’t need to list reasons (ENTS Can You Believe IT?!?!) just watch them, its ridiculous to even compare them anymore. It’s like trying to pit the Bad Boys series against Indiana Jones. Star Wars is dethroned, and unless Mace Windu is the main character of the next sequel it might not be considered for best 6 part series. (Hint: Mace Windu probably dies in the next sequel)

Most of you probably saw Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on Wednesday or are planning on hitting that up this weekend. You will not be disappointed, it is excellent, and I will see it again, and maybe even a third time while in the theatres. I won’t review it because I can’t ruin it for you, and I couldn’t do it justice. I’m an awful writer, just look at my “King of Pop” blog. Seriously…

Sources of Internet Entertainment

I am hoping to encourage my two blogging friends (Dave and CJ) to make a similar list and maybe to encourage e-mails to give me more ideas because I often don’t know what to do online other than shop. And I don’t have the money for Ebay anymore.

Top Sources of Entertainment Online

1. Homestarrunner.com – You really ought to know about this site, for those of you who don’t it is an animation site which releases a weekly cartoon (Monday Morning) which is almost always hilarious. And for you new-comers you get to watch through the archives of humor, I do envy you.

2. Penny-Arcade.com – This site is best served to video gamers, but there are many comics which can be universally enjoyed. They release a comic every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday which is excellent for a triple fix of humor during the week.

3. Addictinggames.com – A site dedicated to those mindless games we all play, and best of all its free with no downloads. If you do visit, check the games with the Hot Tamales next to them.

4. Movies.com – The buzzbin is an exciting read every Monday; it has a quick article and link for the top 20 movies in production according to Buzz, so it changes more than you would think week to week.

5. Other Blogs – I read a bunch of Blogs most of which I link to on the right, they update sporadically so I can’t rely on a consistent fix.

As you can see I only have a few places to go for fun, and Tuesday and Thursday are devoid of a routine update. If you know other fun places, other than mindless games then please tell me. I have no life.

P.S. - I officially condemn Chris for not updating his site yet this month. No school excuse can account for a month of sloth. For shame.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Justin Timberlake – The King of Pop?

For some reason Michael Jackson has retained the moniker “King of Pop” despite him not smashing the charts in probably at least a decade, as such I would no longer consider him the “King of Pop” but instead a one-time King of Pop. Much like the World Heavyweight Champion of Boxing, George Foreman is not the “King of Boxing” because he once had the title, he is a former Heavyweight Champion of the world, so at one point George Foreman was the undisputed baddest mother in the World, but is no more. Michael Jackson owned the Pop radio for well over a decade, and I would say he was the King of Pop in the Eighties, but at what point do we hand the title to another? Other titles in music are honorary and lasting, like James Brown as the Godfather of Soul. James Brown rocked the world of soul and made it more commercially viable and so his title will last forever, because it doesn’t say he is and will be the most significant power in soul music it just says he fathered it. But the King of Pop has to reign, and Michael has abandoned his throne for the closest pre-school and should no longer be in power. The radio doesn’t really play him, his cd’s don’t sell well, and all we do is mock him on TV, what kind of King is this?

But if Michael Jackson is no longer the King of Pop, then who owns the throne? Although his longevity can still be questioned, I believe that Justin Timberlake is making the kind of moves in his career and has the skills and pop sensibilities to take the title for a few years. I will lay out what criteria I believe should describe the reigning King of Pop, and then I will argue for how Justin is achieving or is on his way to achieving each point.

The King of Pop must be

1. Popular to both Men and Women
2. Able to Dance
3. Able to Release Back-to-Back Hit Records with multiple singles
4. Able to release equally astonishing music videos (Note: Even Elvis and the Beatles made music videos, although they were feature length)
5. Able to remain in the spotlight between records and tours
6. Attractive to Women
(There may be more criteria; I only brainstormed for about a minute)

Alright, now I don’t think there is any controversy over points 2, 5, and 6 so I will address the others. First and probably most important for Justin is that he must win over a portion of the Anti-N’Sync men of the world to fully take the title. Normally, men who take roles that anger their own kind they fail, like Jonathan Taylor Thomas who was only a heartthrob and when he grew up and wanted legitimate roles he couldn’t get them because men hate him. An alternate story would be Leonardo DiCaprio, who stayed away from roles that would alienate men after Titanic so he wouldn’t suffer the same fate, now he can make any movie he wants. Justin has been making those kinds of steps as well, mostly with his comic personality. His hosting of the MTV movie awards and the hilarious Matrix parody won over thousand of people as he did the Robot with Wanda Sykes and battled hundreds of Stiflers. Since then, he has been spending a lot of time in clubs all over the U.S. hanging out and giving shows to boost his image, and most men are jealous or at least respectful of the many women Justin has been attached to (Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Alyssa Milano, and Cameron Diaz). Plus, his appearances on Punk’d and other cameos he has done did much to break down the boyband image that limited him. The only people who still hate him hate Pop music in general or those who bought Britney’s pouting and thought it was his fault that she cheated on him.

Point 3, Justified Justin’s first solo record has had 4 songs released as singles and all of them have done very well on the charts (Like I Love You, Senorita, Cry Me a River, and Rock Your Body). His previous hits have all been with N’Sync, although songs he has appeared on have also rocked the chart like his work on the Black Eyed Peas song Where’s the Love?. If we were to eliminate his hits with N’Sync, which I don’t think we should because we still honor Michael Jackson for his work with the Jackson 5, then I would say his next CD will decide whether or not he can vie for the title of “King of Pop”.

Point 4, Justin has accomplished many things with his 4 singles on MTV and other Music Video Channels. Cry Me a River was a hot item for a long time since it revealed a bit about Justin’s relationship with Britney and it was a beautifully shot video in its own right. Like I Love You and Senorita both were solid pop videos and Rock Your Body is just brilliant and worthy of multiple viewings. Cry Me a River is probably his best video so far although I would have to say that Michael’s videos are a bit more epic just thinking of Thriller and Remember the Time which were movie-like in essence.

In conclusion, Michael Jackson has become the Former King of Pop, and I think Justin has assumed the throne and will wear the crown until he is smitten with scandal or releases a bomb. As for the queen, you can all argue that one, I don’t think anyone truly deserves the title right now. Britney gets the most press, Christina Aguilera has the most hits, and Mandy Moore gets the most movies. I can’t pick from the litter, and I would argue against anyone who did.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Lord of the Rings - Extended Glory

I am headed to see Return of the King with my girlfriend in a few hours, and I am paving through the extended Two Towers in preparation. One disc down and let me say, the extended sequences are amazing, and the 20 minutes of extra footage I have seen had only one bit that I would have removed because it spoils the ending. You can expect bonus Gollum, Ent, and humor from most of cast; honestly I don't know how I could watch the movie in its edited form again. If you don't own the extended, RECOGNIZE!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Supporting Actor of the Week (Yes, it has been three weeks)

David Morse

He's recently made the jump to TV so we may see less of him on film, but his roles in the last few years were good enough to include him in my feature. Most of you should recognize him from roles in the movies; The Rock, The Negotiator, The Green Mile, Proof of Life, The Crossing Guard, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Langoliers and other cool movies starting with "The". David Morse is a picture of confidence and power, and his presence is always felt onscreen. He's so good he almost made Proof of Life a decent movie, but honestly who could have? I will recommend The Langoliers this week because you get the added bonus of seeing Balki from Perfect Strangers (Bronson Princhot), but for those of you who aren't in the mood for a 4 hour Stephen King movie watch The Green Mile.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Buffy: Probably the last list

I wanted to put this one together for my final review but I got tired and fell asleep, so here it is in all its delayed glory

The Cast Ranked (Cast = Good Guys, even if temporary)

1. Xander Harris – Normal Guy (Nicholas Brendon) Seasons 1-7

The everyman, the guy we all pull for, the funniest voice in the crowd. Xander is the only character who you will always enjoy, and the best episode of every season is the Xander focused episode. I felt the most in common with him; maybe because he is often the only male in the episode but also because I would wish that I would play a role like his if I was the friend of a superhero. Just for consistency alone he deserves the top spot, but for me personally he is my hero.

2. Willow Rosenberg – Witchy Woman (Alyson Hannigan) Seasons 1-7

Willow is almost always funny and enjoyable, and her storylines were well done except for the inception of her lesbianism. And when Willow witches out, she is the coolest character in the Buffy universe. She had the biggest transformation of the show and she was great all the way from her girl-next-door cutey to her ultra-powerful Wiccan Witch (I must protest however the use of the word “Wicca” since Willow doesn’t follow any of the standard Wiccan ideals or rules) The lesbian transformation was a mixed bag, it was interesting and controversial but I would have rather seen her remain straight and hook up with Xander or something.

3. Rupert Giles (Ripper) – Watcher (Anthony Stewart Head) Seasons 1-7

The wise and bookwormy Watcher of the slayer was used powerfully throughout the entire series. He was deeply missed when absent, and even when he was no longer needed to give direction he was a great character to enhance the story. His humor was always brilliant, and his British mannerisms were key to the comedy of the initial seasons. And on a few occasions you got to see into his darker side and realize that Giles is the man indeed, his part in the 5th season finale made my appreciation of his character triple.

4. Oz – Werewolf Boyfriend (Seth Green) Seasons 2-4

Oz was great while he lasted, and although that was only for one whole season and for chunks of the two around it his presence was great. Few of the characters have the comedic abilities of Seth Green which is why he has moved on to bigger and better things, but I could only imagine how good the show could have been had he stayed on board. But part of me still blames him for making Willow gay by leaving, but I guess I forgive him.

5. Anya Jenkins – Ex-Demon (Emma Caufield) Seasons 3-7

Anya was another character who was always good for a laugh, as she plows through the PC way of doing things and just blurts out every thought in her head. Her time with Xander was tremendous especially in their courting stage, and even as her character got deeper in the end seasons she was straight quality.

6. Faith – Volatile Slayer (Eliza Dushku) Seasons 2-5,7

Faith was always an interesting character, and her turmoil in the third season was one of the best serious issues they delved into in the series. Personally, I am hoping that Tru Calling will get canned after a season and she agrees to do a spinoff of Buffy with Xander and Giles. Faith was a much cooler slayer than Buffy and her attitude and demeanor was always a welcome addition to the show.

7. Dawn Summers – Sister (Michelle Trachtenberg) Seasons 5-7

No idea of the show could have blown up as badly as the addition of a annoying sister, but somehow she wasn’t annoying and actually added to the appeal of the show. She had her moments (as any 16 year old would) but overall Dawn was a solid addition to the show, and it is probably the only time in the history of television where such a stunt actually worked. I wouldn’t mind a Dawn spin-off, but once again take Xander and Giles.

8. Buffy Summers – Slayer Extraordinaire (Sarah Michelle Gellar) Seasons 1-7

It is sad that the star gets 8th place on the list, and in a real honest listing I would have her farther down the list still, but credit has to be given for the fact that because of her role the quirky sidekicks work. She was almost always too preachy, and she had very few good comedic moments in the last 3 seasons. But without her soldiering along then the show would have been very awkward and as much as I wanted it to be more ensemble Buffy had to take center-stage for the dynamic to work.

9. Angel – Ensouled Vampire (David Boreanaz) Seasons 1-3

Angel was cool as the mysterious Soulful Vampire who always appeared in the nick of time to wreck house in the first 3 seasons. And his romance with Buffy was much more natural and interesting then the later Spike/Buffy romance which seemed almost like a ploy to make Spike more important and avoid making another boyfriend character. But Angel was cool enough to allow for a Spin-off which in some ways is better than Buffy and in other ways isn’t. I would have liked Angel to have stayed on for the whole seven seasons but in actuality I like having two quality shows instead of one.

10. Spike – Sarcastic and later ensouled Vampire (James Marsters) Seasons 2-7

Spike is a riot, and few characters were half as cool as he was. My reason for putting him so far down the list was that they made all of his stories very redundant, like he would have the same story and purpose in like 4 episodes in a row and it was wasteful at times. So I liked him better as a villain and a neutral vampire than I did Buffy’s love interest and teammate.

11. Andrew Wells – Comical Supernerd/Nemesis (Tom Lenk) Seasons 6-7

I felt like he was the least of the three arch-nemesis’ but in the 7th season he really came out on his own and was consistently funny and enjoyable. Andrew took the show in a few good directions at points in the last season as well, so he deserves praise for many things.

12. Wesley Windham Price – Watcher (Alexis Denisof) Seasons 2-3

Another hilarious character who was pretty minor on Buffy but has become my favorite character on Angel. His time in the early seasons was solid quality, and really worked to make Giles look good.

13. Principal Wood – PrinciPAL (D.B. Woodson) Season 7

He was another short lived character since he was introduced in the final season, but he was awesome. He was a part of just about every cool happening in the 7th season and was a big part of making the season great.

14. Cordelia Chase – Prom/Drama Queen (Charisma Carpenter) Seasons 1-3

No one on the show could be as irritating as Cordelia when she made a point of it, but she set up some great jokes and was fun when she dated Xander.

15. Jonathan – Another Comical Supernerd/Nemesis (Danny Strong) Seasons 1-7

Jonathan was kind of annoying in the early seasons because he just seemed like a disposable teenage character that just never died. But his stint as a villain and his occasional episodes of importance made him an enjoyable character.

16. Tara Maclay – Lesbian/Weaker Witch (Amber Benson) Seasons 4-6

I hated her in the 4th season, but she grew on me. Although by grew I mean she stopped pissing me off, I never really loved her. She was definitely the weakest link although more because she was there only to make Willow gay, she had almost no other purpose. Amber Benson I have grown to appreciate more and I hope she does well elsewhere.

17. Miss Jenni Calender – Gypsy Computer Teacher (Robia La Morte) Seasons 2-3

I really liked her and wanted her romance with Giles to stick around for awhile because Giles was hilarious when he is in love, but sadly Angel had to be a jerk and snap her neck. Shame

18. Principal Snyder – Principal - Seasons 1-3

He was really funny as the intrusive and obnoxious Principal who got in the way of everything that Buffy did in school. He was missed when Buffy went to college.

19. Riley Finn – Buffy’s Boyfriend and Government Soldier (Mark Blucas) Seasons 4-5

Riley was the least irritating human boyfriend that Buffy ever had, but I still felt no love for him. I wasn’t sad when he left except he made me suffer through more depressed Buffy.

20. Joyce Summers – Buffy’s Mother (Kristine Sutherland) Seasons 1-5

She was never really that significant to me, she was just the mother and at points she was a pain. She filled a role but she wasn’t deeply significant.

21. Kendra – An annoying Slayer - Season 2

She was worthless, except for Mr. Pointy her lucky stake. She served a purpose to show how much Buffy was a rebel as far as official slaying goes but they did right by killing her off quick.

20. Kennedy – Lesbian Potential Slayer - Season 7

Willow needed a girlfriend to prove she was gay and so she was written in to make for a happy ending. She sucked, and only helped push the limits of how much lesbian sex you can show on TV.

Friday, December 12, 2003

No Good Deed Review

This movie appeared out of thin air, and part of me was disgusted that I didn't even know about it. This is a lower budget action movie but it stars Samuel L. Jackson and Milla Jovovich, two of my favorites. It was decent, and I think I will hang on to it because Jackson rules and it had a few excellent scenes and ideas that really excited me. The movie got slow at points but it kept your attention throughout, and as far as movie enjoyment goes that probably most important to me. I would recommend it to those of you who have seen everything, its not bad, plus you get to see Percy from The Green Mile as another character you love to hate.


I am sorry for my lack of movie related blogs, I have realized that I have been skipping the movies in the face of great video games, Tv shows, cd's, and my girlfriend. Since the school year is over and my girlfriend will be heading back to Lancaster for awhile I am going to try to bust out some movie reviews to keep my loneliness in check. I hope I didn't offend anyone with my anti-sadbastard music rant, those band do have something to offer but they belong underground and should only be represented a few times in a Top 40 list. As you could see in my Top 50 list I snuck in some sweet underground picks, but the list would lose all credibility if I was to push the issue (Soul Coughing #23, Prodigy #25, Cee-Lo #38, Cross Movement #42, and The Toasters #48). But, enough with that issue. This weekend I am hoping to watch at least 3 movies, and begin watching Tru Calling starring Eliza Dushku which is the first of the possible Buffy replacements.

I have watched the first episode of Tru Calling and my first impression is that the show would have been a better movie than a TV show. The story concept is cool, but I think it will get old quickly and even if they can keep it fresh for an entire season they will surely not be able to make a whole second season. The concept for those who are unaware is that Eliza Dushku has taken a job at a morgue and when new "Wrongful Death" murders arrive she often gets contacted by them for help. She then gets to relive the last day just like in Groundhog Day so that she can try to prevent the death. This type of trouble would work on Angel, but here there are several things missing that they will need to address for the show to be continually enjoyable. First, there are no supporting actors as of yet, and since she has no powers or real crime-fighting skills the action sequences will be limited. The episodes will have trouble remaining tied together since for the most part you should have a different victim and conflict in every episode, and in a big city they most likely won't be connected. It's strongest point other than Dushku us that the soundtrack rules, with its hard driving rhythms that make you feel funky in your pants.

This is all of course conjecture I have only watched 1 episode and this is my initial reaction to what I have seen. I'll confirm or rebuke this later, but if the first three I have aren't amazing I suspect I will discontinue watching them.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

My Disgust for Spin Magazine has climaxed.

As far as music magazines go, for the longest time I respected Spin more than most of the other American magazines that existed. However, this last year has driven me to the point of insanity, and I would likely not renew my subscription if I had the option (I have a 5 year deal). The reason being thay have sold out, to no one. Rolling Stone is a sell-out magazine but they know it, and you can tell when they are bending the truth to satisfy other needs besides honesty. I do have issues with Rolling Stone being extremely Politically biased (which is actually sickening at points) but I can skip those articles for the ones on music which I am more interested in. But Spin, has sold its soul for no reason but to say they did. They have always been a little too friendly to the artsy indy rock that doesn't light up the popular radio, and may not even fly on college radio, but it was forgiveable. In the last issue, they recount the best 40 records of the Year and the list made me hurt all the way down to my soul. I am not the most educated music student, mainly because I can't afford every cd I want, but I am pretty well versed in popular music in all genre's and I religiously read music magazines and reviews and the like. As such I was appalled by the fact that of the 40 greatest records of the year, I had only heard of 19 of the bands that recorded them (and I mean "heard" as in I recognize the name as that of a band). No list comprised of the greatest of the year should have more than 5 bands that I haven't even heard of before. Of the CD's I knew you could tell they just picked a few safe picks to round out their deeply saturated indy rock list. For instance, Metallica's new album made the list, which is generally believed to be the worst record ever made. They also gloat at the fact that they have given the number 1 spot to The White Stripes for three years in a row. I like The White Stripes but this is going to far. But, to top it all off Coldplay graces the cover and is considered the best band of the year. Rolling Stone sells out for money, and political favoritism I respect that. Spin sells out to make some kind of brilliant statement about their underground artistic credibility, and they went so overboard that they destroyed their credibility as journalists. There is a reason none of these bands are popular, its because they suck at something. Maybe its music in general, at PR, at consistency, at originality but if they really were that talented they would be making their mark on the industry, and they aren't. Spin, you have fallen, and may you recover before you go under and screw me on the last 3 years of our contract.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Buffy Season 7 Review

Part of me is pretty sad because the journey is over and my last few months of Buffy watching is now over. I must say that I was impressed by how good the 7th season was especially after the suckiness of the 6th. The season felt much more like the earlier seasons mostly because they returned to many of their roots. Dawn and Buffy returned to the high school and they fought many episode long battles instead of a single entity that plagued them for an entire season. There was also the presence of happiness which was almost entirely lacking from season 6. For me I was happy with some of the new characters namely D.B. Woodside (who I am also enjoying as Michael Massee's brother on 24 season 3) who entered the show as the principal. And I also was surprised by the guest appearance of the talented and popular Ashanti. The highlight of the season of course is the ultimate finale, which surprised even though I knew elements of it from watching Angel, and as a naughty spoiler I was very surprised by the non-chalant killing of a few essential characters. My main complaint with season 7 is that it got preachy a lot, and I mean a lot. Almost every episode had a sappy speech about life as Buffy prepared everyone for the final fight against evil, thankfully I think they caught on at the end and smacked themselves down for it. Overall, I was very pleased with Season 7 and since it is the final season I have some final thoughts I want to delve into.

I entered into this venture with the belief that the show would trail off at the end, and now I will disagree and argue that the show remains solid throughout. I will rank the seasons in the order in which I most enjoyed them,

1. Season 2 - Season 2 corrected many of the problems in writing that existed in the first season, and was able to properly balance between humor, action, and drama. The feel good vibe created a great ying for the serious battle against evil yang and the show was most enjoyable.

2. Season 3 - Followed in season 2's footsteps and brought in some wonderful new characters like Faith. Was slightly more somber but this season is excellent and is right behind Season 2 as far as quality is concerned.

3. Season 5 - The introduction of Dawn was actually a quality move, and the romance between Willow and Tara is less frustrating. The season long villian is enjoyable and the show delved into some neat ideas and concepts. Plus we get our first glimpse of Willow as a witch of Death.

4. Season 7 - A return to glory, with all the major characters present and accounted for (except Tara, Oz, and Cordelia). The feel good vibe returns and the quirky dialogue is back in force. The finale is excellent, and the show ended well.

5. Season 4 - The introduction of Willow as a lesbian didn't flow and I felt that it was unnaturally written, this factor alone reduced this season's power. Besides this, the show is still doing well, although I definately was missing Angel since this season coincided with the first season of Angel, although on the same token I am not missing Cordelia.

6. Season 6 - Depressing as all hell, but the last four episodes and the musical make it superior to the first season.

7. Season 1 - The writing was awful, and I almost gave up on the series at this point. Some of the characters were so irritating you want to rip out your eyes. But the groundwork was being lain.

I didn't want to steal any of Dave's thunder in case he was headed here with one of his Buffy lists, but I put together a list myself. And as a sidenote I agree with Dave's villian list entirely and wouldn't change a thing.

Best Cameo Appearances in Buffy

1. John Ritter - Ted Buchanan
John Ritter began the episode as the stereotypical John Ritter nice man who is dating Buffy's mother, but as the episode progressed you discover that the authoritative Ritter is actually a robot. Buffy see's his bad side and tries to get rid of him, but her mother thinks she is just mad about her mother dating. Ritter dies in the end, but he is just head and shoulders above every other cameo celebrity because he is just amazing.

2. Brian Thompson - The Judge, and Luke
You may remember him as the giant chin-weilding villian of many 80's movies like Cobra, but in Buffy he played two different villians. His first was as Luke the second hand man to the Master in the first season, and his second was as the near unstoppable Judge in season 2. Both times he was a brilliant villian, and you just gotta respect the chin.

3. D.B. Woodside - Principal Robin Wood
He was the finest black man that graced the show, and he was pretty sweet throughout the whole season as he kept you wondering whether not he was good or evil for the majority of the show.

4. Mark Metcalf - The Master
Mark Metcalf has come a long way since his days in the Animal House, actually no he hasn't, but it was nice to see him getting work, and the Master was well done.

5. Ashanti - Random Woman
Another cameo where I almost jumped out of my skin. She was good as a romantic interest and then BAM evil. That happens a lot on Buffy, but this one was cool because she is famous.

6. Harris Yulin - Quentin Travers
The evil Leader of the Watcher's Council was so well played by Harris Yulin that it made you sick. He was so swarmy and evil and powerful that I wish he could have been featured more often. Plus, he is one of the three people who were in Buffy that also were in 24.

7. Clea DuVall - Invisible Girl
She was invisible for much of the episode so she gets 7th place, but hey half the people of the word didn't notice her at all, so I feel special.

P.S. Eric Balfour, star of the New Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, well maybe not star, but he gets his face cut off and worn. Anyway, he is the third actor to be in both Buffy and 24, he turns into a vampire back in season 1 and he played Milo on 24.

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