Thursday, November 25, 2010

Try not to become a brand

I watched Alice in Wonderland, mostly because Firecracker wanted to. The trailers looked atrocious, and Burton's disappointed me with everything after Mars Attacks!

That's around the point Tim Burton went from being a creative director and became a brand. It happened to M. Night Shyamalan, too. He made interesting movies like Unbreakable, which flopped, so he had to become Mr. Twisty Guy. Burton flopped with the hilarious spoof on invasion epics, so he had to switch to making Hot Topic friendly remakes and reimaginings of known properties. Next up is his & Depp's take on the cult TV horror favorite, Dark Shadows.

I don't care about that- seems right up their alley- but I've been a fan of Lewis Carroll's twisted little children's tales from a young age. I've read the Annotated versions, where every possible interpretation is in the margins, and find the obvious retellings with the innocence removed rather boring and banal. What makes the books so endlessly amusing is how they ignored convention. The problem is, Gothing things up to appeal to teenagers is conventional now. So is turning it into a fantasy action movie, down to Alice reciting an Arnie one-liner as she beheads the Jabberwocky (sic).

I'd have loved to see what Julie Taymor could have done with this concept and budget. The under-appreciated Across the Universe was much more exciting and interesting than this video game cut scene put to film. Backstory kills mystery, and I didn't care for any of it. Alice should be any clever girl who feels out of sorts because she doesn't act like she's expected. That's all the story you need. They turn the Dormouse into Reepicheep from the Narnia films, Depp's Mad Hatter is like watching 90's-era Robin Williams in drag, and the rest of the excellent cast is truly wasted, and not in a good way.

Yes, they call the draconic beast the Jabberwocky, and not the Jabberwock. Not sure why. The Red Queen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in one of the few amusing roles) is actually the Queen of Hearts from the stories. But the goody good in "Underland" as it is now called, is the White Queen, so her enemy must be a queen as well. This leads to a climactic battle of playing cards fighting chess pieces, and the rest of the fantasy world is as jumbled as you can imagine such a battle being. Logic and proportion don't fall sloppy dead, they come and go by the whims of the script.Which makes for 2 hours of cotton candy. I don't know about you. I can eat a peach for hours, but cotton candy gets a little boring.

There's even a blessedly brief dance number at the end. But it's Disney after all; you can't expect them to take risks anymore. They became a brand long ago.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

I am thankful for...

I pledge allegiance, to the star spangled booty, of Wonder Woman of the Justice League of America. For which it jiggles, under Zod, supersqueezable, with lassos of truth and Veronica Carters for all.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

True Crime

Found at the local Barnes & Noble (look lower right)

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Monday, November 22, 2010

NetFlix Explained

From via Hacking Netflix

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Starbucks Consumer Whore

In the late '90s an artist named Kieron Dwyer created this hilarious satire of the Starbucks logo, after millions flocked to pay $5 for a cup of coffee from a chain, thus bankrupting the thousands of local coffee shops that had sprung up earlier in the decade. I still feel skeevy going into one and spending my money on their burnt roast. Unfortunately there are few choices these days, but I try to find local coffee shops and frequent them if only for a nostalgic memory of be-pierced and tattooed kids sullenly manning the espresso machine while Bikini Kill and the Eels played.

He was of course sued, and can't use the image to make any money, or even post it on his own website, so I'm posting it on mine.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I drank some of BP's toxic sludge

That is, Blue Point's Toxic Sludge 7% Black IPA. It's on tap at the Cloverleaf Tavern, which also has an excellent new chicken lettuce wraps appetizer with some spicy sauces. Something that healthy rarely tastes so good.

The beer is a bitter, piney dry hopped IPA with a smooth malty finish. "Like water off a duck's back," so saith the label. All proceeds go to bird rescue causes. Because "birds of a feather stick together, but their feathers shouldn't." It's a tasty beer for a good cause. Not as good as Abita S.O.S. pilsner, but very tasty and worth a try if you like the hoppier beers.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Voice of God

When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

And all music is.

– Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Friday, November 5, 2010

Heart Transplant

Heart TransplantHeart Transplant by Andrew Vachss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again Andrew Vachss has broken our conception of what can be achieved with the graphic novel format. Teaming with artist Frank Caruso and clinical social worker Zak Mucha, he takes on bullying and emotional abuse with a great story that goes to the root of the problem.

As someone who was bullied in school, and who learned to fight much later in life, it touched a nerve. When we hear of bullying, we blame the bully, we blame the school, but we don't talk of how to bully-proof our children. By teaching them that they are worth fighting for, and to have the armor of self-confidence that makes bullies seek other targets.

We can't undo the damage that creates a bully. "Give me a child until the age of 7, and I will give you the man." But we can raise our children to not be bullied, or tolerate the bullying of others.

I'll be buying another copy and donating it to my local library, if they don't already have it in stock. It's that important.

View all my reviews

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

I will not be blogging much this month while I participate.

You can follow my poop jokes on Twitter.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

Some photos from the Halloween party I went to at the Pourhouse in D.C., and my favorite costumes there.

 Our friends went as Holy Shit, "Peace" of Shit, Shit-Ton, Shit Hit the Fan, and... the Shit Show!
Our friends Paula and Dennis as Jules & Vincent from Pulp Fiction. I gave Paula the 3-slap "I'm-Not-Gay" hug because I didn't recognize her.

 Godzilla and Mecha-Godzilla. They won the contest. Godzilla is eating a train.
 The band was in drag and played covers of all female bands like Blondie, the Go-Gos, Hole, Lady Gaga, Heart, Joan Jett, and many more. I was in heaven.
 Vincent meets a Mia Wallace!
 Jules and Vincent in... Slash Fiction! So wrong.
 Vincent was always a bit of a brown noser.
My Viking costume on the kitties.

 And... the scariest costume of the night, the singer without his Madonna cone breastplate on.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

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