Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Ten: The Omen II

Movie: Damien: Omen II (2005)
Director: Don Taylor
...Who Went On To Make: A whole bunch of TV movies, none of which I have ever seen or heard of.
Channel: Fox Movie Channel

First Impressions: Actually, not entirely as bad as I was expecting, and by the end not as bad as the first twenty minutes or so led me to believe. That being said, those first twenty minutes had me thinking this would be the worst follow-up to a classic movie I'd ever seen. Worse, even, than Exorcist II. Rest easy, fans of William Holden and Lee Grant, that is not the case. Exorcist II remains the most disappointing movie of all time. The problems with Omen II are threefold: 1) Damien is no longer a silently creepy little kid -- he's a whiny, foppish, poorly-performed weirdo; 2) The whole movie is a total retread of the first, watching a whole new cast of characters spend the entire movie figuring out who Damien is before failing to kill him; and 3) the military-industrial complex subplot is tedious, obvious, and a waste of time. That being said, the twist at the end is cool, if obvious, William Holden is so hysterically 1970s and I don’t know how he and Richard Burton made it through their lives without having a deathmatch for the rights to that same girm, jowly expression they shared. And Sylvia Sidney! I could listen to that tobacco-ravaged voice all day.

Notable Edits: None, though FoxMovies failed to grace us with any background info this time, which is too bad. I'd love to know whose bright idea this was.

Scary Or Funny? Due to a few key scenes, it manages to still be scary.

Best Killing? The woman being killed by the crow would have been a frontrunner (a total secret fear of mine) if it didn't end so predictably. So that opens things up for the guy on the elevator who gets split in half at the waist. That'll do.

Future Airings: none that I can find

Previously: Saw II, Day of the Dead, The Omen, Final Destination 2, Near Dark, Halloween, Evil Dead II, Pet Sematary 2, Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Ten: Saw II

Movie: Saw II (2005)
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
...Who Went On To Make: Saw III and Saw IV, the talented so-and-so.
Channel: Showtime

First Impressions: It's pretty much what everyone says it is: a couple sickly ingenious setups and some difficult-to-watch scenes, but mostly artless, sloppy, overly-talky, full of logic gaps...I could go on. The ending isn't un-clever, but the filmmakers seem to think it's much more brilliant than it is, and worthy of a Usual Suspects-style montage. Not to ruin the surprise for you or anything, but: it's not. Also, that payoff might have been even better if the Donnie Whalberg/Tobin Bell scenes weren't mind-bendingly repetitive and dull and also didn't take up half the movie. As for the parts that don't include long minutes of discussion about purpose-driven lives, they're...okay. Some of the deaths feel rushed, and one major, action-driving plot line makes no sense at all, but at least we get to endure the nails-on-chalkboard overacting of Shawnee Smith, right?

Notable Edits: None.

Scary Or Funny? It's not funny. And a couple scenes in particular made my skin crawl, so...scary.

Best Killing? The pit o' needles is nightmarish, but it's that glass box with the razor hand holes (above) is freakout-level horrifying. It's the one guilt-free awesome scene in the movie.

Future Airings: Sunday 8 PM

Previously: Day of the Dead, The Omen, Final Destination 2, Near Dark, Halloween, Evil Dead II, Pet Sematary 2, Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Happy Halloween Everybody!

Since I'll be spending my All Hallow's Eve doing nothing more scary than seeing the B52's in concert (I suppose spiders could start swarming out of those beehives at any moment...), I figured I'd get my scare on right now. Behold three film scenes that scared the crap out of me (all safe for work -- no boobs or gore):

(Is anybody else having trouble viewing this? Try this link to the actual YouTube page if you are.)

And after all that, something to calm you down:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Nine: Day Of The Dead

Movie: Day Of The Dead (1985)
Director: George A. Romero
...Who Went On To Make: Land Of The Dead; The Dark Half
Channel: IFC

First Impressions: Not what I expected. This is probably sacrilege, but I found most of this movie unspeakably boring. And, much in the same as my underwhelmed (and kind of annoyed) reaction to Land of the Dead, I feel like the political overtones end up overwhelming the movie, to the point where it feels like a position paper rather than a monster movie. Night of the Living Dead made a political statement too, and it still managed to be the scariest movie I'd ever seen when I first saw it. This movie spends an hour and a half with humans squabbling and fighting amongst each other in order to hammer home the totally novel points that science oftentimes plays God and that military types are macho and prone to violence and bossiness. Groundbreaking, that. All that said, once the zombies storm the compound, as you knew they would, the havoc they wreak is...well, not worth the boredom of the first two-thirds of the movie, but it's pretty cool.

Notable Edits: Thanks to IFC, no.

Scary Or Funny? Um...scary bad, I guess.

Best Killing? All the zombie killings where they essentially swarm the humans and rip them apart with their bare hands are wonderfully disgusting, but the obvious gold medal winner is when the army captain gets his lower half separated from his upper half, then screams at the zombies retreating with his legs to "Choke on it!"

Future Airings: None this week.

Previously: The Omen, Final Destination 2, Near Dark, Halloween, Evil Dead II, Pet Sematary 2, Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Nine: The Omen

Movie: The Omen (1976)
Director: Richard Donner
...Who Went On To Make: Superman, The Goonies, Scrooged, and all four Lethal Weapon movies.
Channel: Fox Movie Channel

First Impressions: It's one of the best purely unsettling horror movies around, even though on the fifth or sixth viewing (I can't be sure just how many times I've seen it), it can't possibly produce the same kinds of chills or jumps that the first time did. It doesn't hold up as well as Halloween, but remembering just how fucked-up the nanny-hanging scene was, or how legitimately frightening as the baboon scene was, or how Billie Whitelaw can freak you out just standing there, you have to give this movie its due credit. I will admit to being kind of brought out of the movie every time that whackadoo Biblical prophecy mentioned the Jews and Zion. Can we not blame Israel for the emergence of the Antichrist?

Notable Edits: Not only did FoxMovies present the film commercial- and edit-free, but they also included a lengthier than expected primer on the social and historical significance of the movie. I live for that shit.

Scary Or Funny? Scary, even if that's become muted in recent years.

Best Killing? There are two in the running: one, the priest who had been running around trying to warn Gregory Peck that his kid's a demon getting javelined by a falling church spire; and two, David Warner getting his head sheared clean off by a flying pane of glass. As always, the beheading takes it.

Future Airings: none this week

Previously: Final Destination 2, Near Dark, Halloween, Evil Dead II, Pet Sematary 2, Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Seven: Final Destination 2

Movie: Final Destination 2 (2003)
Director: David R. Ellis
...Who Went On To Make: Cellular and Snakes On A Plane
Channel: SciFi

First Impressions: After getting one hell of a recommendation by Jason -- which included a description of this delightful death scene -- I figured I had to include at least one from this series on my list. I have to say...I was not disappointed. The whole film is really two separate movies; the first is a high-octane short film depicting an implausible mass disaster, complete with foreboding omen and action scenes worthy of an actual non-trashy film. Once that's done, the second film begins -- a strung-together series of elaborate, creative, smirking death scenarios that are more achievements of engineering than terror. Doesn't make them any less fun to watch. Occasionally, the film tries to develop a narrative, an explanation and logical framework for why this is all happening; you almost want to grasp the filmmakers close to you and whisper, "Shh. Shh. No more talking. Just show me how that downed power line is going to end up killing the blonde." Very often, all I'm looking for out of a horror movie is whether it can do the job; that is, whether it can scare me, freak me out, make me laugh or avert my eyes -- elicit some sort of strong, positive reaction from me. The worst thing you can do is bore me. This movie? Doesn't bore me. It does the job.

Notable Edits: Oh my God, only about a million. Some of the coolest death scenes -- that PVC extravaganza linked above; the guy who seemed to get sliced in thirds by projectile barbed wire -- are totally neutered. Come on, SciFi, we're all friends here. Nobody's gonna rat you out to the FCC.

Scary Or Funny? Most definitely funny.

Best Killing? Well, besides those two I just mentioned that I barely got to see? The initial fate-killing -- hot guy in the burning kitchen eventually felled by fire escape ladder -- and the "death in an elevator" (killing you dead while you're going down) were both pretty sweet.

Previously: Near Dark, Halloween, Evil Dead II, Pet Sematary 2, Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Seven: Near Dark

Movie: Near Dark (1987)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
...Who Went On To Make: The widely-known Point Break, the underrated Strange Days, and the Harrison Ford career-killer K19: The Widowmaker
Channel: Showtime

First Impressions: A good number of wild, fun, terrifying sequences, surrounded by a whole lot of tortured brooding. The good rule of thumb is that whenever Bill Paxton's onscreen, going crazy, cutting folks up, overacting like a motherfucker, being weirdly attractive for the first time in recorded history, the movie is good. Whenever fat-faced Adrian Pasdar is onscreen, being all whiny and indecisive and contemplative, the movie's not so good. That being said, it is a gorgeously shot film, with cinematography by Adam Greenberg, who nabbed an Oscar nomination for Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and then spent the rest of his career as DP on an almost unbelievable run of crap (Toys, North, Junior, First Knight, Inspector Gadget, The Santa Clause 2? Oh my God). Much of the movie is filmed in the in-between times of dusk and dawn, which is both thematically appropriate and aesthetically seductive.

Notable Edits: Nope, thanks to Showtime.

Scary Or Funny? When it's not moping around with Pasdar and his skinny vampire girlfriend, it's pretty scary, yes.

Best Killing? The entire sequence in the bar is the unquestioned high point, punctuated by Paxton's spur-slashing of the overmatched bartender. Everything that's great about this movie is wrapped up in that scene.

Future Airings: Tuesday 11:30 AM (Showtime)

Previously: Halloween, Evil Dead II, Pet Sematary 2, Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Seven: Halloween

Movie: Halloween (1978)
Director: John Carpenter
...Who Went On To Make: Escape From New York, In The Mouth Of Madness, and maybe the one scary movie I've been most dying to find on cable but haven't, The Thing.
Channel: AMC

First Impressions: Still the best of the genre -- after a week of watching these movies, I'm more sure of that than ever. Even now, after countless repeat viewings and decades worth of desensitization, it still manages to be pretty damn scary. Carpenter makes expert use of everything, from motion to dark corners, to the music -- by God, the music. After a week's worth of bad synth scores and weird zappy laser sounds, Carpenter's minimalist score -- alternating from plink-plink-plink-plink-plink terror to the more foreboding dun...dun-dun lower chords -- is both blood-chilling and refreshing. Also, allow me to metaphorically pour one out for Donald Pleasance and his "take a bite out of life...and some scenery" performance.

Notable Edits: You know, for as scary as it is, there isn't any gore, so the only edits are of the occasional muted-language or blurred-boobs variety. It's not all that obtrusive.

Scary Or Funny? Scary. Still.

Best Killing? This movie still boasts the most satisfying "horny teens screw, then die" scenario ever -- that annoying-ass Lynda and her fugly boyfriend couldn't get slaughtered fast enough.

Future Airings: Wednesday 10 AM, Thursday 2 AM (AMC)

Previously: Evil Dead II, Pet Sematary 2, Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Hold On To Your Potatoes, Dr. Jones!"

While I probably could have done without standing for the last five hours, I have absolutely no complaints about the show the Comedians of Comedy put tonight on at Irving Plaza. No Zach Galifanakis, unfortunately, but to a man (or woman), every single comedian was on point. Aziz Ansari was new to me, but because of him I now know about Human Giant (who knew MTV was still making guilt-free programming?). I hadn't heard of Eugene Milman before either (I am in the distinct minority on that, and for good reason), but I really loved his style.

Patton Oswalt was, no surprise, brilliant, and he had an update on the KFC Famous Bowl, and its "foods that shouldn't be" cousin, the Mega Leg. Maria Bamford was about 100x funnier than I've ever found her, ever. I always thought she hit the funny-voices thing too hard and too often in her TV appearances, but she was so brilliant tonight, and Tara has become quite enamored with her assessment of world history: bugs, Jesus, top hats, diet soda.

My favorite performer of the night, though, was Brian Posehn. Next to Oswalt, he was my favorite in the Comedians Of Comedy DVD, but tonight he made my face hurt, I was laughing so hard. He dubbed his own junk "Short Round" in an early bit, which led to the quote that serves as the title of this post, which led to me breaking my face muscles. And he just went off from there. I almost typed out all my favorite bits, but A) there are too many, and B) it's not funny if I talk sbout them.

So I guess the message I'm trying to get across is: You had to be there. God, what an asshole I am.** Sorry, guys.

**Yeah, speaking of assholes, confidential to the bag o' douche high-fiving people and slip-sliding his drunk ass in front of me and my friends at the show: nobody has ever liked you once in your entire life. Even your friend who you came to the show with kept making the jerk-off motion at you behind your back and apologizing to everyone for you being such a fuck.

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Six: Evil Dead II

Movie: Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Director: Sam Raimi
...Who Went On To Make: A Simple Plan, The Gift, and two good Spider-Man movies, then a bad one.
Channel: Showtime

First Impressions: Is it weird that the first word that comes to my mind when I think of this movie is "charming"? That's seriously how I view it. What a charming, well-intentioned, enthusiastically weird movie. It's never quite as funny as it wants to be, nor quite as scary, but it comes damn close every time, and I would think it would be very hard not to love it, short of rejecting the premise entirely. I mean: chainsaw hand! Come on, that's awesome. Also, due to the fact that they had to recreate the entire first movie in the opening 15 minutes, the action starts almost immediately, which I totally appreciate. Apparently that was due to a problem getting rights to footage of the original -- every movie should be so handcuffed. Bruce Campbell has made quite the career out of being such a shitty actor -- he's totally hilarious. And...on my God, is that Blair from One Life To Live as Bobbie Jo? I think it is.

Notable Edits: Thanks to Showtime, none.

Scary Or Funny? It attempts to strike a balance, but even the scariest moments are at least a little funny. The whole part with the dead hag in the basement is hysterical, and of course the evil severed hand. Definitely funny.

Best Killing? Can we count the death of Ash's hand? Because that was easily the best part of the movie.

Future Airings: None that I can find.

Previously: Pet Sematary 2, Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Smooth Joey Apollo's '07 NFL Picks: Week 8

Last Week:

Aaron: 10-4
Joe: 13-1 (Damn you, Broncos!)

Season To Date:

Joe: 69-34
Aaron: 65-38

This week's picks:

Cleveland at St. Louis

Aaron: The Browns have steamrolled over some of the league's worst teams and m'thinks the 0-7 Rams certainly qualify. But, the Browns are 0-2 on the road this year, you say? Those games were against New England and Oakland, I retort. Ahem. Pick: Cleveland

Joe: Okay, here's where you have to start thinking that the Rams are bound to win at least one game, and so every home game becomes possibly The One They'll Win. Not having the first damn clue whether Cleveland is actually a decent team or not doesn't help. ...Oh, hell. Pick: St. Louis

Detroit at Chicago

Aaron: The Rex Grossman-version of the Bears lost to the God-rooting-for-Kitna version of the Lions last month. Grossman is now on the bench and I'm hoping God's attention has moved a few thousand miles to the west. Specifically, to the Taco Bell a half mile from my house. And also to my house. Pick: Chicago

Joe: I think Detroit has become my "pick them at home, pick against them on the road" team of the season, much like the 49ers last season. Pick: Chicago

Indianapolis at Carolina

Aaron: If the Panthers had even an average QB behind center on Sunday, I'd call this the very definition of a trap game for the Colts. Indy's got the Patriots next week and Carolina's QB combo of Carr/Testeverde should provide a nice preseason-esque warm-up. Pick: Indianapolis

Joe: Just so long as nobody calls out the Pats after the game and invokes The Great And Terrible Vengeance Of Belichick's Half-Sleeves for next week. Pick: Indianapolis

N.Y. Giants at Miami

Aaron: This has been quite the challenging out-of-conference schedule for the Giants this year, no? And, of the Giants eight games after this, only three should pose a challenge. NY writers will credit the retirement of Tiki Barber and maturation of Eli Manning as the reasons for this 12-4 season. The moral? Mike Lupica is a f*ckin' idiot. Pick: N.Y. Giants

Joe: Glad you've caught up to the rest of us. Pity that he never got swallowed whole by a brunch-crazed Bill Conlan, mistaking him for a strip of bacon, back in the halcyon days of The Sports Reporters. Aw, remember the classic days of The Sports Reporters? Where have you gone, Dick Schapp? ...Oh, right. Pick: NY Giants

Oakland at Tennessee

Aaron: My Raiders are done winning for awhile. And, news this week that 20% of the team had been sold was muted by the fact that it wasn't any of Al Davis' 20%. Pick: Tennessee

Joe: Here's a question that should keep everyone busy until kickoff time: are the Titans any good as a football team? They've won some games, know? They don't seem all that good. Not like this week will be of any help. Pick: Tennessee

Philadelphia at Minnesota

Aaron: As long as the Vikings keep their most dynamic player out of the offense on almost half their plays, every one of their opponents has a chance. Minnesota head coach Tobias Funke might wanna unleash Adrian Peterson against the Eagles tough run D. Die with your boots on and all that rot... Pick: Minnesota

Joe: At halftime, Peterson and Brian Westbrook will have a summit at the 50-yard-line where they will discuss how sick they are of propping up a crappy team all by themselves and pledge to buy the Buffalo Bills and run it on their own, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, once Ralph Wilson finally dies. (...Man, if Ralph Wilson somehow dies this week, I am gonna feel like a shit.) Pick: Philadelphia

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

Aaron: The Bengals still have a pretty nice offense and the Steelers did look bad in last week's inexplicable loss to Broadway Jay Cutler and Denver. The difference here is that pride's at stake. It's Western Pennsylvania vs. Southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky! one wins! Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: If the Steelers hadn't lost last week, I'd say the Bengals have a chance to catch them on an off week, but not so much anymore. In other news, anyone who wants to witness me commit Hara Kiri in public as I consider once again how I could have had TJ Houshmandzedeh (in addition to the Randy Moss I already have) on my fantasy team this season, please meet me in Central Park on Sunday evening. Pick: Pittsburgh

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets

Aaron: Two bad offenses meet two bad defenses. At 1-6, the Jets are the bigger mess, though. Then again, they're at home, where they won their only game of the season. Against Miami. F*ck it, where's my coin? Pick: N.Y. Jets

Joe: I pledged to pick the Bills only once this season, and it paid off last week. This week, I go back to picking against them and hoping I'm wrong. Pick: NY Jets

Houston at San Diego

Aaron: For one week, I'll keep my Chargers bashing to a minimum. San Diego does love this team of steroid cheats and crybaby "classy individuals". Conversely, the Chargers bond with the community is as strong as any other team in the league. They won't lose a game that uses "dedicated to..." a million times between now and Sunday. Pick: San Diego

Joe: If you keep holding your nose like that, Cam, you won't be able to inhale the fragrant aroma of that lei they give you as your board your plane back home from Hawai'i. Pick: San Diego

Jacksonville at Tampa Bay

Aaron: The Jags have some key injuries on offense, while the Bucs have two cupcakes and a bye spread over their next four weeks. And, we're talking bad cupcakes like those Hostess chocolate cake/chocolate frosting ones. Not, good cupcakes like those Hostess yellow cake/chocolate frosting ones. Pick: Tampa Bay

Joe: Jacksonville versus the battle over which Floridian city you'd least want to make your vacation spot? No, football, I guess. My gut says Tampa, but we've been too similar in our picks this week. Pick: Jacksonville

New Orleans at San Francisco

Aaron: Put it this way: whether it's 75% of injured 49ers QB Alex Smith or 100% of sh*tty back-up QB Trent Dilfer, it doesn't matter. The Saints are in the middle of one of those short-lived "we knew they weren't this bad" stretches that won't end until they win a few more games. Pick: New Orleans

Joe: Yikes. I thought New Orleans would be a slam dunk last week and yet they limped all the way past freaking Atlanta. Maybe they really are just that shitty. So are the Niners, of course. Pick: New Orleans

Washington at New England

Aaron: In the span of a few hours, the Pats will lay waste to the Redskins and the Red Sox could finish off the Rockies in the World Series. Enjoy the next six months on the east coast, dear readers. Pick: New England

Joe: Didn't you just finish telling your readers that we all live on the East Coast, via your wah-wah, boo-hoo, we have to hear about New York and Philly and Boston East Coast Bias rant? Enjoy the next six months, everyone. Pick: New England

Green Bay at Denver

Aaron: Brett Favre had a week off to rest his tired bones. Can his Monday Night Mojo win out, even without a running game? I hear he's got a friend/relative/neighbor who's sick/dead/dying. I feel safer not knowing this guy. Pick: Green Bay

Joe: Hey, if John Madden and Peter King aren't going to be there, maybe Brett will forget there's even a game to be played. I don't think Denver was nearly as bad as they were being made out to be. Pick: Denver

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Five: Pet Sematary Two

Movie: Pet Sematary Two (1989)
Director: Mary Lambert
...Who Went On To Make: Nothing good, including Urban Legend: Bloody Mary. That being said, she did direct one of my favorite music videos of all time, Madonna's "Like A Prayer."
Channel: AMC

First Impressions: Ugh! Terrible. Rest assured, if the first Pet Sematary had been available on TV, I definitely would have watched that instead. Among the many things this movie suffers from, it certainly suffers from a lack of Fred Gwynne as the foreboding townie with the persistent warnings, so accurately (and randomly) parodied on South Park. This movie's just irritating, with maybe the worst sense of timing I've ever seen. None of the scary parts are scary and none of the funny parts are funny, mostly because the timing is off. Not even Clancy Brown's enthusiastic and floppy-haired performance can save us from the tidal wave of lame acting and crappily-rendered demonic animals. I don't even get the benefit of Edward Furlong's girly screeching, since apparently he'd crossed the puberty hump by the time he made this movie. I will say, I correctly called the way in which they'd recycle the original film's "dead is better" (well, "dead is bettah") mantra. Easily the worst I've seen all week.

Notable Edits: Anything that's remotely cool gets excised without anything to stand in its place. And early utterance of "dickwad" gets muted out entirely, even though the character's mouth spells it out perfectly.

Scary Or Funny? Neither.

Best Killing? I get the feeling that if I had watched the uncut version, the part where the bully's face gets caught up in the motorcycle tire would have been boss.

Future Airings: Monday, 2:00 PM (AMC)

Previously: Hellraiser, The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Oh, NO!

Lost star Daniel Dae Kim arrested for DUI

I hate to say this, because I love Jin, but: should we start taking bets on how many episodes before he's killed off the show?

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Four: Hellraiser

Movie: Hellraiser (1987)
Director: Clive Barker
...Who Went On To Make: Lord of Illusions and...not much else, though he's really a writer, and did you know he wrote the story that Candyman is based on? I didn't.
Channel: AMC

First Impressions: Liked it way more than I was expecting to. The movie took a long-ass time getting to the cool part with the Cenobites, but there were spurts of total grossness along the way, which at least kept things interesting. The acting is, of course, broad, as is required for the genre. The Cenobites, however, are just mad cool looking. It reminded me of the kind of movies Guillermo Del Toro's making today (on a much shallower scale, especially if we're talking Pan's Labyrinth or The Devil's Backbone), the way Del Toro will take so much care and joy in presenting a series of the sickest, most bizarre imagery possible. The S&M "pleasure and pain, indivisible" angle is pretty interesting, seeing as so few horror movies outwardly acknowledge that. It didn't scare the hell out of me, but it was definitely unsettling and compelling.

Notable Edits: The climactic "ripped apart by hooks" scene is, ironically, shredded to bits by the editing. Which is weird, because an earlier scene in which we are taken on a tour of what appears to be a factory full of mangled flesh seems to get by unscathed.

Scary Or Funny? Scary, for what it's worth.

Best Killing? Even with the editing, the guy getting ripped apart by hooks is badass. And every time Claire Higgins cracks some poor fool's head open with a hammer, I managed to wince. Not bad.

Future Airings: Sunday night at midnight (technically Monday morning) (AMC)

Previously: The Howling, The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Three: The Howling

Movie: The Howling (1981)
Director: Joe Dante
...Who Went On To Make: Gremlins, Innerspace, and the beloved, aforementioned The 'burbs.
Channel: AMC

First Impressions: Yeah, it's Dee Wallace Stone Night on AMC, apparently. Anyway, here's what I was looking for. It's from 1981, so it all has this late-70s grimy, ugly veneer to it that's immediately off-putting. It freaked me out just with those scenes of scary urban sex crime in the back of a porno store at the beginning. I'd never been to Times Square in the '80s, but I bet it was just like that. Anyway, then it moves on to the weirdo werewolf camping community, and while of course it's ultra-cheesy with crappy wolf outfits and the sex priestess lady who's dressed like Barbarella. And that doesn't even get into the occasional confusions over what kind of evil we're dealing with. (They're werewolves...and undead?) Still, there are more than a few scenes that were honestly scary, and for an old movie, that's saying something. It's a fairly ideal blend of hilarious and creepy, and that's mostly what I'm looking for.

Notable Edits: It's not just the swears getting bleeped out or the gore getting cut away from; it's also cutting to a commercial right in the middle of a tense sequence, thus killing all the suspense that had been building up for five minutes. BOO, inept TV movie editors!

Scary Or Funny? Both. Good stuff.

Best Killing? I should probably rename this "grossest part" because that's what I'm really looking for. Ideally, that part's a killing, but I'm finding that that's not always the case. In this movie, that part is the werewolfening and animal-sexening of Dee Wallace's porn-stached husband and Barbarella, Empress of Wolves. It's narsty.

Future Airings: Saturday 1:00 AM and 10:00 AM (AMC)

Previously: The Frighteners, Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Three: The Frighteners

Movie: The Frighteners (1996)
Director: Peter Jackson
...Who Went On To Make: Some movie about elves.
Channel: AMC

First Impressions: I wasn't expecting quite so much the horror comedy we ended up getting, especially at the beginning, but I ended up liking it. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it ends up being very funny (Chi McBride has it turned up to eleven from minute one and I love it) and also kind of touching by the end there. It's not a classic horror movie in that it's not ever really scary, but it's a warmly entertaining ghost story. Peter Jackson's got a weird sense of humor, though. Maybe it's best that he's sticking to fantasy and drama.

Notable Edits: The usual language dubbing, including a "God damn" becoming "gosh darn" which is infuriating and makes me think this dub was created back in 1985 or the day after Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl.

Scary Or Funny? Funny. Intentionally so.

Best Killing? Dee Wallace Stone and Jake Busey (I know) getting sent to hell is delightfully gross and reminds me of Tremors meets those Doc Ock tentacles from Spider-Man.

Future Airings: Sunday 10:00 PM (AMC)

Previously: Urban Legend, Hostel, Children of the Corn

The Red Sox Bandwagon Is Officially Full

Also: Patton is rooting for the Nazis in World War II, Alien is rooting for Predator in their next movie, and the Hatfields are rooting for the McCoy's in the neighborhood softball tournament. I mean, really.
As if I needed one more reason to see Rudy as an unprincipled sellout. For shame, sir!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Two: Urban Legend

Movie: Urban Legend (1998)
Director: Jamie Blanks
...Who Went On To Make: The David Boreanaz-starring horror flop Valentine. However, screenwriter Silvio Horta went to create both Jake 2.0 and Ugly Betty for television, so he obviously did okay.
Channel: Showtime

First Impressions: Okay, this one I already knew was bad. This movie saw moderate success back in the post-Scream days when all you had to do was load up on pop-cultural references and WB TV stars and you had yourself a movie. This one I remember "fondly" only because I "called" the real killer about ten minutes in, thinking that was an actual accomplishment rather than just the inevitable broken clock being right twice a day. Anyway, the gore is muted and the plot is gimmicky (if instructive -- it led me to read up on urban legends, discover Snopes, and thus saved me a lot of heartache in the early days of the internet), but the worst thing about it is the cast of characters: pompous Jared Leto, killjoy Alicia Witt (I still can't believe they let Alicia Witt headline a movie and it was...this), smarmy Joshua Jackson, poor Rebecca Gayheart who gets saddled with all the worst lines, and an insufferable Michael Rosenbaum who doesn't die nearly soon or gorily enough. The only bright spots are Loretta Devine in full sass mode as the Foxy Brown-idolizing campus cop, and, shockingly enough, Tara Reid as the Marlboro-voiced sex bomb. No, she doesn't make it 'til the end.

Notable Edits: Thanks to Showtime, nope.

Scary Or Funny? Considering the so-called "comedy" consists of Jackson and Rosenbaum acting like smug little ass-monkeys, so I was all ready to resort to "scary." Then I remembered the climactic reveal of the killer and the over-the-top gesticulations and astonishingly hammy "acting" contained therein. That shit should be performed by drag queens every year.

Best Killing? John Neville getting impaled by the tire spikes in a parking garage was pretty cool, but not quite as sick as it could have been. 'Course, any movie that has the stones to cook a dog in a microwave is fine by me.

Future Airings: none this week

Previously: Hostel, Children of the Corn

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day Two: Hostel

Movie: Hostel (2005)
Director: Eli Roth
...Who Went On To Make: Uh...Hostel, Part II
Channel: Showtime

First Impressions: Huh. Well this wasn't how I thought this horror-movie-appreciation feature was going to go. I didn't like this movie. There were some good parts, not that the movie was interested in getting to them all that quickly, but as a whole, it just felt very unsatisfying. The dominant impression I got was one of Eli Roth rushing like hell to get this movie made and not taking the time to make it all work. Motivations are tacked-on, big setpieces are over too quickly for that feeling of unbearable tension that you need to have in this kind of movie. It's weird, because this is a movie that takes forever to get going, and yet by the time it's over it still felt way too rushed. Waste the first half of the movie following the guys catting around Europe if you want to, but for God's sake don't make that part boring! The weird misogyny is another story. I don't even mean the conveniently topless women at every turn -- that had more of a whiff of parody (cheaply exploitative parody as it was). I'm talking about having the only female characters in the movie being either deceitful bitches, helpless damsels, or, in one case, too vain to go on living. I don't even think this stuff was intentional, which makes it more bothersome. In a better movie, I would have easily forgiven it. This isn't that movie.

Notable Edits: I watched it on Showtime, so blissfully: none.

Scary Or Funny? Well it ain't funny. There are some parts that are tense and there are other parts that are gross, so while I wasn't ever quite terrified, I'd definitely label it "scary."

Best Killing? None of the best parts were killings, but the two most memorable (and best) scenes were the chainsaw sequence (imaginative, disgusting, and mean) and the eyeball sequence (SO gross, so intense).

Future Airings: Wednesday 2:45 AM (Showtime Next); Sunday 1:10 AM (Showtime Beyond)

Previously: Children of the Corn

Monday, October 22, 2007

No, YOU'RE On Notice!

Since I'm already blogging like a fiend tonight (and seriously, with my extended periods of unproductivity punctuated by spurts of bulk posting, I'm beginning to think I'm a bulimic blogger -- feel free to perpetuate that one throughout the internet, kids), I really need to get on the stick and remind y'all about the Tomato Nation Fall Contest before it's all over.

If you're reading this, there's already a better than 50/50 chance you know what I'm talking about anyway, but in case you haven't, allow me to catch you up quick:

So Sarah has a blog and every so often she'll use that blog to raise money for charity -- the ever-awesome Donors Choose -- and she and her excellent readers usually raise a boatload, and in exchange, Sarah will do something foolish. Last year, she shaved her head. This year, she pledged to don a tomato costume and do a dance (the Angela-got-a-kiss dance from My So-Called Life to be exact), and thus far her readers have drummed up -- are you ready? -- nearly $100,000. I know!

Along the way to 100 K, in addition to much generosity and a lot of misty blog postings, Claire Danes got involved. And so did Tim Minear. And then a mysterious stranger. And Greg Berlanti.
It's insane.

And NOW, who of all people should be making a run at Sarah's money-raising supremacy but one Stephen Colbert. It's THROW DOWN time, Colbert. Throw down for charity!

Seriously, anyone who would like to donate some cash to kids and schools who most definitely need it, here's where you can go. And then proceed directly to heaven.

Halloween Gorge-Fest, Day One: Children Of The Corn

Movie: Children of the Corn (1984)
Director: Fritz Kiersch
...Who Went On To Make: Virtually nothing at all, and deservedly so.
Channel: AMC

First Impressions: Well this made for an inauspicious kickoff. I was sure I'd seen parts of Children of the Corn when I was a kid, but now I'm starting to wonder if I just saw the video covers with the bloody scythes and figured it was scary enough not to see. I would have been wrong. How many things are fucking lame in this movie? The acting, for one. Not just the kids, which would be understandable, but Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton, neither of whom are Olivier, but they should know better. The visuals put the "special" in "special effects," and I am referring to the short bus. It's just a brutal movie. The Stephen King short story was actually creepy, this is just laughable. I will say, however, that the awkwardness of the kid who played Malachai was a net positive. He's the same guy, incidentally, who played the creepy Slavic teen in The 'burbs, one of two horror comedy staples that are not airing anywhere this week (yes, Beetlejuice is the other). I do love that movie, and I will never forget Bruce Dern yelling, "Hey, Pinocchio! Where do you think you're going?" at this kid. ...Anyway, this movie sucks.

Notable Edits: When Malachi cuts Linda Hamilton on the face in order to draw Peter Horton out of hiding, it becomes the subject of a most ham-handed cutaway.

Scary Or Funny? For most of the movie, it's neither. Sure, impish little Isaac's got a voice like a truck-stop lesbian, but that's only mildly amusing. But the last five minutes, in the "not over yet!" scene, are what ultimately tip the balance to "funny." The world-weary exasperation with which Linda Hamilton fells the lone remaining evil urchin, then leaves her unconscious but clearly alive in their abandoned car before trudging off towards the highway with her husband and two newly-acquired kids in's hysterical.

Best Killing? Not "best," but "most crackheaded" goes to Isaac getting enveloped by the visual effects from David Lynch's Dune and then ultimately shot out of an air cannon about fifty yards into the air.

Future Airings: None so far this week.

On My Plan To Bite Off More Of This Holiday Than I Can Possibly Chew

So, it's weird. I love Halloween, but I don't always choose to participate in it. Picking out a costume is a total hassle and way too much pressure to be clever and/or impressive, so I usually don't, and while I totally love a good horror movie, I tend not to seek many of them out, especially the old ones. But much like Christmas, it's the pervasive atmosphere of the holiday that I appreciate the most. Which is why it disappointed me to the point of anger when I checked the TV listing for this week (nine days 'til Halloween) and saw virtually none of the cable channels engaging in the week-long horror-fests that I remember when I was a kid. Remember when USA would marathon all those shitty Friday the 13th sequels? Now it's a marathon of shitty Monk episodes. OCD is not scary, all due apologies to people who suffer from that horrific ailment. SciFi Channel, for shame!

Of course, some cable channels have not shirked their seasonal duties. Thank God for AMC and their weeklong Monster Fest. So with precious few options available, I just started scheduling these movies to record. If I can't rely on a marathon of scary crap to veg out to while I distractedly pop candy corn into my mouth, I'll have to create one myself.

And since no time-wasting televisual project like this should go undocumented, I'll be blogging about the movies as I watch them. I'm currently set for 16 movies in 6 days, so the added bonus of reading these entries is to watch my meager little brain explode. So we both win! Join me, won't you?

Coming Soon: He who falls asleep from boredom behind the rows

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Smooth Joey Apollo's '07 NFL Picks: Week 7

Last week:

Aaron: 9-4
Joe: 4-9

Season to date:

Aaron: 55-34
Joe: 56-33

Arizona at Washington

Aaron: Where's your God now, Kurt Warner?! Last week's loss at home to Jurassic Testeverde and his salt-and-pepper perm doesn't bode well for the future. Pick: Washington

Joe: Even worse for 'Zona, they may have to start Tim Rattay (that's French for "ratty") this week. In other news, Black Quarterback Jason Campbell (tm Cam) makes his first appearance in my fantasy ball starting lineup. Don't make me regret it, kid. Pick: Washington

Atlanta at New Orleans

Aaron: In my defense, I came this close to calling last week's surprising Saints win. Between that and my lukewarm support of FOX's "K-Ville", I feel infinitely better about not donating to that whole Red Cross Disaster Relief thingie two summers ago. Pick: New Orleans

Joe: "Lukewarm support" doesn't put food on Anthony Anderson's table. Here's where the Saints fool people into thinking they can make a run at the playoffs. Pick: New Orleans

Baltimore at Buffalo

Aaron: Once...just once...I'd like for Joe's Bills to be on the "famous" side of all those "infamous" NFL moments they've played a part in over the years. Frank Reich, notwithstanding. Pick: Baltimore

Joe: Take your pity and stuff it in a sock, Cam. Here's where I make my annual overly-optimistic homer pick. Pick: Buffalo

New England at Miami

Aaron: At this point, what's more likely to happen: Pats win by 50 or Bill Simmons gracing us all with another Monday morning column about New England's domination? Heaven help us all if the Red Sox beat the Indians. Pick: New England

Joe: I actually can't root for Miami here, under Champagne Toast Ordinance, Article VI. So I'll do what I normally do: hope for a big fantasy day for Moss and seethe with resentment. Pick: New England

San Francisco at N.Y. Giants

Aaron: Wait...when did Eli Manning get all "not bad", again? And, which juggernaut do we credit him for taking down - the Jets or Falcons? Pick: N.Y. Giants

Joe: Hey, remember the early 1990s? When this was the matchup in the NFC? Now it's just the Giants' latest chance to fatten up on a crappy team in preparation for their annual late-season swoon when they all quit on their coach. Pick: NY Giants

Tampa Bay at Detroit

Aaron: The Lions' 2-0 start was just precious. I'm equally unconvinced that this Bucs squad is legit...but, they're at hot and my usual "who's got the better helmet" pick strategy hasn't worked so well. Pick: Tampa Bay

Joe: Am I the only one who remembers that A) the Lions are at home, B) they've got one thousand WRs who love to score TDs, and C) Tampa doesn't have a running back? Pick: Detroit

Tennessee at Houston

Aaron: Titans QB Vince Young is reportedly a game time decision. If he starts Titans win, if he doesn't, the Texans will take it. Just covering my ass, kids. Pick: Tennessee

Joe: I miss thinking that the Texans might make the playoffs. Pick: Tennessee

Kansas City at Oakland

Aaron: Well, the Raiders were nicely exposed for anyone who thought they were strong underdog play (+10) last week. This week, they're actually 2 or 3 point favorites at home. This one's free money, kids. Pick: Kansas City

Joe: No faith in your boys, Cam. You're not fit to wear those spiked shoulder pads. 'Course, neither am I. Thank God. Pick: Kansas City

N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati

Aaron: Chad Johnson has announced that there'll be no more end zone celebrations until the Bengals start winning. Way to be all unselfish in the same week you've got the Jets, Chadwick. Pick: Cincinnati

Joe: I'd kind of love to pick the Jets here, but that's when I remember that they can't run, or pass, or stop the run, or stop the pass. The weird thing is, three of those four things were true last year, too, and they made the playoffs. Pick: Cincinnati

Chicago at Philadelphia

Aaron: Adrian Peterson, Schmadrian Peterson...the Vikings are horrible and the Bears' season officially ended last Sunday. Donovan McNabb's statue lives another week. Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: I shall continue to ride the sinking ship knows as the 2007 Chicago Bears. It's just me and Lovie right now, drinking out of coconuts and talking in pirate voices. Pick: Chicago

Minnesota at Dallas

Aaron: Were the Cowboys really talking trash after last week's annihilation vs. New England? Hard to believe the 'Boys were actually the less douchey of the two teams going into that game. They still are, but Dallas has closed the gap. Pick: Dallas

Joe: They're still the class of the NFC, and by a wide margin at that. Pick: Dallas

St. Louis at Seattle

Aaron: Rams QB Marc Bulger is back! Believe it or not that could actually be the difference. It won't be, but, damn could. Pick: Seattle

Joe: Shaun Alexander, you should be ashamed of yourself. Pick: Seattle

Pittsburgh at Denver

Aaron: The thought of this Steelers defense against the wonderfully shaky game of Broncos' QB Jay Cutler just warms the coldest corners of my heart. F*ck him up, guys. Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: For the record, it's comments like Cam's that scared me away from starting Cutler on my fantasy team this week. Expect a call from my attorney if the Broncs light things up this week. Pick: Pittsburgh

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Aaron: The Jags have beaten Atlanta, Kansas City, Denver and Houston. The smoke and mirrors act ends here. Pick: Indianapolis

Joe: 'Specially if Joseph Addai is back. Not that we didn't all love Kenton Keith. Doesn't that sound like the name of an old jazz musician who the Huxtables would have known? ...No? Pick: Indianapolis

Monday, October 15, 2007

Surviving The Funny Games PTSD

The utterly fantastic Jason (he of the plaid pants, which are new) was kind enough to bring me along to the Michael Haneke screening and Q&A at the Museum of Modern Art tonight, and since he totally called me out, I have to write about it. Which is a good thing, so thanks, J.

So anyway, afterwards, I told this very lovely young woman that this film, 1997's Funny Games, was my first ever foray into Haneke, she looked at me, very concerned, and asked if I was doing okay. Like she was worried that I'd been harmed by it, not having been adequately prepared for its artful cruelty. Her concern was sweet, and shared by quite a few who heard that this would be my first Haneke, but afterwards I found my psyche still in one piece. I've seen Straw Dogs -- I'm well versed in extreme, filmmaker-endorsed cruelty towards middle-class placidity. I'm also not a stranger to being manipulated by a filmmaker, which is the second major theme of the film.

In a way, Haneke almost outsmarts himself -- the audience is so clearly aware of the film's manipulations from such an early stage that it instinctively resists it. Luckily, Haneke's a strong enough filmmaker that he's able to pull you back and fool you, in spite of yourself. There's a moment -- the climax of the film, really -- where the protagonist at long last gains the upper hand, after an entire film's worth of punishment and degradation, and at that moment, the ultra-sophisticated MOMA audience I was with applauded, just like you'd cheer Laurie Strode finally felling Michael Myers. Despite the fact that I, too, found myself rejoicing on the inside, as soon as I heard the audience vocalize it, I thought You fools! You fell for it. And you are so getting punished for it.

And do they ever get punished for it. What Haneke does after coaxing a sporting-event reaction out of his audience isn't just a violation against the characters in the film; it's a violation of film itself. I am in no way exaggerating. At the Q&A, one audience member dogged Haneke with charges of "cheating" the medium of film, a deadly serious accusation that was nonetheless humorous to me. But it was at least devoid of the "Look at how smart I am!" posturing of most of the questioners, the best of whom managed to ask Haneke a question about Bergman that had no point other than to allow the questioner to tick off how many Bergman films he'd seen. God, a month and a half in New York and I'm already railing against the intelligentsia. I've become all I despise.

ANYway, Haneke acquitted himself well enough in the Q&A. He wasn't overly explainy, but only once did he give an answer I found disingeuous (after being asked why he decided to make the villain in the film the most charismatic character in this or any Haneke movie, the director smirked that maybe some people find villains more charismatic; not quite -- the villain in Funny Games was clearly charismatic by design, why not just admit as much?).

All in all, this was a good and worthy film. At times I felt like I was engaging the film in combat rather than simply watching it, but I'm glad I did. I'll even be able to sleep at night and experience the full gamut of human emotions in the morning.

Oh, and about the shot-for-shot remake of Funny Games Haneke has made (set for release in February), I can only say that 1) I can't believe they let him make it in this country, and 2) people are going to HATE it. Here's the trailer:

Okay, now head over to Jason's blog and watch him bitch about Michael Pitt. Yay!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Smooth Joey Apollo's '07 NFL Picks: Week 6

Last Week's Results:

Aaron: 12-2
Joe: 8-6

Season To Date:

Joe: 52-24
Aaron: 46-30

Cincinnati at Kansas City

Aaron: The Chiefs have looked better recently, while the Bengals are coming off a bye week. In “Psych 101” terms, it’s the “recency effect” vs. “the recently had the week off” effect. No contest. Pick: Cincinnati

Joe: This would probably be a more exciting game if it featured Ickey Woods versus Christian Okoye. As it stands, the Bengals have to beat somebody soon. Pick: Cincinnati

Houston at Jacksonville

Aaron: A loss to the woeful Falcons and a squeak-by win against the woe-fuller Dolphins has officially started the “fraud clock” on the Texans. I sure hope the media still has a few hundred “Houston, We Have a Problem” headlines in them. Pick: Jacksonville

Joe: Once again, I shall try to undermine Jacksonville's success with the power of prediction. Pick: Houston

Miami at Cleveland

Aaron: Sooo…how’s that whole “draft Ted Ginn, Jr. over Brady Quinn” decision working out, Miami? Meanwhile, funeral services for oft-concussed Dolphins QB Trent Green shouldn’t conflict with the opening kickoff. Pick: Cleveland

Joe: Yet another week of the "Derek Anderson: Shitty QB With Awesome Numbers" show. Pick: Cleveland

Minnesota at Chicago

Aaron: Well, on the one hand the Bears upset the Packers (and the traveling “Friends of Favre” phalanx in the media) last Sunday. On the other hand, they didn’t break any of Favre’s bones as I’d hope. Can’t call it a “win”, Chicago. Pick: Chicago

Joe: Save for Adrian Peterson, Minny's one of those "I never knew they were THAT bad" teams. Pick: Chicago

Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets

Aaron: I got burned by the Eagles two weeks ago, when I picked them against the other New York team. I look at this as a do-over for everyone involved. Everyone, Donovan. Don’t make me regret this. Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: Two teams I have absolutely no handle on whatsoever means I'm...picking the home team? Not if Brian Westbrook's back, I'm not. Pick: Philadelphia

St. Louis at Baltimore

Aaron: Pretty sure that the Ravens’ 9-7 win last week set the league back by 35 years. Winning teams who don’t break 10 points should be demoted to the Canadian League for a week. Doug Flutie was like White Jesus there, y’know. Pick: Baltimore

Joe: Hmmm, we're definitely into "it's gotta happen sometime" territory with the winless Rams. But not this week. Pick: Baltimore

Tennessee at Tampa Bay

Aaron: Interesting match-up of two otherwise anonymous teams. And, the previous sentence couldn’t have been typed without “h-o-m-e t-e-a-m”. Pick: Tampa Bay

Joe: It is an interesting matchup. This could be where we see how serious a contender the Bucs are this season. Pick: Tennessee

Washington at Green Bay

Aaron: How many more weeks before we can seriously start contemplating a Brett Favre v. Tom Brady Super Bowl? With the huge P.R. hit the NFL has taken this year, is the fix in for a contrived storyline that would collapse our very solar system? Did you hear that? Peter King just came. Pick: Green Bay

Joe: All that QB talk and not a peep for Jason Campbell? The guy who's going to win this week? Pick: Washington

Carolina at Arizona

Aaron: C’mon…Cards QB Kurt Warner at home on The Lord’s Day? And with his spiky-haired adopted son Brenda in the stands? Just keep that roof open so Jesus can peek in! Pick: Arizona

Joe: I...can't compete with that. Pick: Arizona

New England at Dallas

Aaron: Cowboys fans remain among sport’s most obnoxious, but the ones who talked sh*t after that game in Buffalo last Monday night are the worst of them all. That was a “team win”? That was Cowboys’ football? New England…destroy them. Pick: New England

Joe: Much as I hate the Cowboys after last week (Nick Folk can burn in hell with all the other kickers who have wronged this team over the years), I hope they rock the fuck out of the most hated team in football (probably). Pick: Dallas

Oakland at San Diego

Aaron: The Raiders are a mediocre football team without a fraction of the talent of the Chargers. Keep in mind, though, that six weeks ago, San Diego was printing Super Bowl tickets. Today, they’re settling for a week-long parade after vanquishing the Raiders. Pick: San Diego

Joe: "Keep in mind, though"? Oh, Cam. How the mighty have...remained fallen. Pick: San Diego

New Orleans at Seattle

Aaron: The Saints are going to sneak up on someone and bite ‘em on the ass. Drew Brees will put up a 400-yard game out of nowhere and Reggie Bush will score a couple of spectacular touchdowns. On the road in one of the league’s toughest places for a visiting team? Nope. But, I need to close the gap with Joe. Hedging…hedging… Pick: Seattle

Joe: Well the Saints certainly won't do anything now that you've jinxed them. Pick: Seattle

N.Y. Giants at Atlanta

Aaron: Eli Manning’s unique brand of vanilla…in the heart of Chocolate City! Pick: New York Giants

Joe: It's six weeks too late, but I still think visiting QBs should adopt a puppy from an Atlanta animal shelter the day before the game. Just because. Pick: Atlanta

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Smooth Joey Apollo's '07 NFL Picks: Week 5

Last week's results:

Joe -- 8-6
Aaron -- 6-8

Season to date:

Joe -- 44-18
Aaron -- 34-28

Arizona at St. Louis

Aaron: Matt Leinart’s post-game snit fits over playing time have become quite the storyline. Only one more week before he goes "Hope Solo" on everyone!. And, like Hope, he’ll get complete pass from the media. Can anyone explain the difference between these athletes and "cancers" like Terrell Owens? Oh, wait… Pick: Arizona

Joe: If Matt Leinart were a fast food sandwich, Aaron would give him an absolutely scathing review on his blog. Pick: The Team That Is Not St. Louis. That is to say: Arizona

Atlanta at Tennessee

Aaron: There was something wonderfully ironic about documented Wonderlic idiot, Vince Young, appearing on 60 Minutes last Sunday. And, yes, I do equate Andy Rooney with rocket science. Pick: Tennessee

Joe: I'm guessing Vince didn't take part in one of their bi-monthly "robot computers are taking over our lives! Help Mike Wallace program his VCR!" reports. And yes, I am making fun of 60 Minutes rather than Vince Young because every time I mock Vince Young he scores three touchdowns and beats the Bills. Pick: Tennessee

Carolina at New Orleans

Aaron: The Saints season is washing away like…like…fine, it’s been over two years…I can find a better analogy. In fact, I’m just saving it for next week. Meanwhile, the Saints are about as effective as FEMA these days. Fine, mock me. Now, let’s all pretend to laugh at Joe’s 500th reference to Drew Brees’ birthmark. Pick: Carolina

Joe: All sorts of theories bumping up against each other this week. One is Carolina's one-on, one-off tendency (they lost last week, so they're set for a win this week). The other is the fact that a winless team playing at home, in their own division, past Week 4 is always, always, always dangerous. ...Bah, I've picked the same as Cam too much already. Pick: New Orleans

Cleveland at New England

Aaron: I assume the Pats are going to play the "victimized, vilified" role for the remainder of the season. And, with the most loaded roster of any team in over a decade. Come onnnnnn, Cleveland! Pick: New England

Joe: That's right, Pats and Pats fans. Count those chickens before they hatch. Get those fingers sized for rings. Plan the parade. Put the cart before the horse. Win that Super Bowl in October. Pick: New England

Detroit at Washington

Aaron: Hey, it’s a rematch of the 1991-92 NFC Championship Game! That I knew this without looking it up belies the fact that I was actually quite popular with the ladies during that era. Reebok Pump shoes and Levi’s 501 jeans…works every time. Pick: Washington

Joe: I actually remember that one as well, as it was one of those NFC Championship games with a "Winner gets to beat the Bills in the Super Bowl" stipulation. We woulda beat the Lions, I tells ya! Pick: Washington

Jacksonville at Kansas City

Aaron: Thank you, Kansas City, for turning the San Diego sports-talk airwaves into audio bliss for me this week. I’ll understand if you guys want to take this Sunday off. In fact, I expect it. Pick: Jacksonville

Joe: My inexplicable hatred for this Jags team continues unabated. Pick: Kansas City

Miami at Houston

Aaron: Watched last week’s Dolphins/Raiders tilt. Miami is as bad a team as any I’ve seen since the Raiders. Last year. Injuries, schminjuries…the Texans will fillet the fish like a Filet-O-Fish. Oh, please. If Kanye West said that, you’d call him a "genius." Pick: Houston

Joe: You think if the '07 Dolphins went 0-16, Nick Buoniconti would shut the eff up? Pick: Houston

N.Y. Jets at N.Y. Giants

Aaron: Wow. Watch out in the stands, Meadowlands…the douchebags runneth over. It’s times like these that I’m glad I live on the West Coast, where a-hole fans are properly punished via random stabbings at Raiders games. It’s the only way they’ll learn. Pick: N.Y. Giants

Joe: This at least limits the number of home market games hogging my Sunday afternoons around here. Of course, the Bills are gonna get slaughtered on national TV anyway, so the benefit is muted. Pick: NY Giants

Seattle at Pittsburgh

Aaron: My wife actually made the "Omar Epps" joke in reference to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin last week. You should’ve seen her face: so proud, smiling broadly…it was like she’d found the comedic equivalent to the cure for cancer. And, I was really gonna let her have that one (our anniversary is next month) until she suggested I put her "discovery" in my blog. And, yes, I did enjoy bursting her bubble. Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: So am I to infer that you passed up the chance to do a parody of Mrs. Bill Simmons's fakey-fake rants in his weekly column by penning a "Mrs. Bootleg Speaks!" column yourself? Do you not want to make your readers happy? Pick: Seattle

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis

Aaron: Anyone seen those Peyton Manning "pep talk" commercials? Okay, of course you have. Why did they have Peyton looking into the sun? His squinty alabaster visage now haunts my dreams. Pick: Indianapolis

Joe: My not picking Joseph Addai with the fourth pick of my fantasy draft -- after having him on my first-place team last season -- is what haunts my dreams. Pick: Indianapolis

Baltimore at San Francisco

Aaron: The Bay Area media is actually playing this up as a “revenge game” for 49ers back-up (and former Raven) QB Trent Dilfer, who’ll be filling in for the injured Alex Smith. Dilfer v. the Ravens. It’s totally “Tupac v. Biggie, Part II” Pick: Baltimore

Joe: I guess the Bay Area media has to do something when they're not convincing themselves that Daunte Culpepper's five TDs off of 71 total yards wasn't an aberration. Pick: San Francisco

San Diego at Denver

Aaron: In all my years of following sports, two of my favorite non-Oakland related teams were the 1991 Atlanta Braves and 1994 San Francisco 49ers. One was the classic underdog, while the other was a cold, efficient other-team-killing-machine. ’07 Chargers…welcome to the club! Pick: Denver

Joe: Oh my God, you bandwagoned the '94 Niners because of Deion, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?! Pick: Denver

Chicago at Green Bay

Aaron: From the network that brought you “Camera-Gate” from all 8 million angles when the Pats played on prime time a few weeks ago, it’s Old White Media Darling: The Brett Favre Story. Let the blow jobs begin. Pick: Green Bay

Joe: I've neglected to mention this before, and now that Favre has set the TD pass record it's probably too late, but here's the number one tragedy of the media's over-the-top slobbering over Favre these first four weeks of the season: there are few NFL athletes I've ever hated more than Dan Marino. I hated him as a player, I hated him as an Isotiner spokesmodel, I hate him as a studio talking head, I desperately wanted Lois Einhorn/Ray Finkel to kill him while she had the chance...hate him. So the fact that Favre -- who I don't hate -- was going to break his record should have been a happy occasion, but thanks to the sports media I couldn't. Thanks a lot, Peter King. I'm totally not sorry I accidentally stole your sandwich at the luncheonette at 30 Rock last month. Pick: Green Bay

Dallas at Buffalo

Aaron: Ummm…Cowboys cover. Pick: Dallas

Joe: I just hope we don't lose so badly that the Trent Edwards era gets stunted before it even begins. Pick: Dallas

Monday, October 01, 2007

In The News Today...

[Sidebar: Holy shit! Check me out with all the postings, I'm like one of those "bloggers" you always read about!]

Religious conservatives, feeling marginalized by gay-loving baby-killer presidential candidates like Rudy Giuliani, have convened to grouse and whine and threaten to run a third-party candidate next year. Okay, after you're finished whooping and high-fiveing each other, consider 1) this quote:

"Conservatives have been treated like a mistress as long as any of us can
remember," Viguerie said. "They'll have lots of private meetings with us, tell
us how much they appreciate it and how much they value us, but if you see me on
the street please don't speak with me."

is pretty goddamned hilarious. Yeah, those fundamentalists have had a real rough go of it, politically, these last eight years. 2) This whole shadowy secret organization run by the Left Behind author. Doesn't it remind you of the Republican National Headquarters as envisioned by The Simpsons. You know: Mr. Burns, Dr. Hibbard, Krusty, McBain, and Dracula? Maybe that's just me. And finally, 3) if conservatives want to hear the words "Madame President" a whole lot for the next four years, then by all means they should totally run a third party candidate. Man, I never thought I'd see the day where I could actually envision Hillary winning the election. Thanks, Jesus freaks!

Recommended-to-Avoid TV Show of the Night

Hey guys! Don't forget to not watch Dr. Steve-o tonight on USA, after wrestling. I had nearly forgotten that I was planning on not watching it tonight until I saw its utter obnoxious and intrusive ad on just now. I mean, I would have probably remembered to not watch it anyway, but who knows? My girl Beth is on RAW now (and kicking ass -- go, Beth!), so it's conceivable that I would have left the channel on USA long enough to be accidentally exposed to the deserate grab at continued popcultural relevance by Steve-o and Trishelle Canatella. I'm not sure which is radiating more palpably from that "naughty nurse" ad, the desperation or the crabs. Seriously, Trishelle, when you end up being the least interesting person on the Real World Vegas reunion series, it's maybe time to re-enroll in community college.

Anyway: don't be too busy not watching Journeyman tonight to also not watch this. My public service to you, dear reader.