Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Won't Forget You, Schmosby

There's scene late in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (one of my favorite movies) where the protagonist is confronted by his love interest about the fact that soon she'll be erased from his memory and he won't be able to recall ever having known her.  "It's all gonna be gone soon", she says.  "What do we do?"  Our protagonist, having realized the importance of the part she has played in his life, simply says "Enjoy it".

I bring that up, because Monday night, How I Met Your Mother will run its final episode.  Ted will finally meet the love of his life.  Marshall and Lily will head off for their life in Italy.  Barney and Robin will take off for their life together.  It's all gonna be over soon, and all that we can do is enjoy it.

I haven't been a fan of HIMYM from the start.  In fact, I was still a movie snob when friends first started telling me about the show.  I was like, "It's a sitcom.  How good can it be?"  After listening to my buddy Ryan's seemingly constant ravings, I decided to sit down and watch it, if only to collect ammunition to help me argue with him effectively about the show's lameness.  I didn't get to argue, however, because I found that I was actually enjoying the show.  In fact, How I Met Your Mother quickly became one of my favorite TV shows, one of the few shows I actually attempted to catch when it airs every week.  Monday night, that'll all be over.

Like most fans of the show, I have plenty of warm comfortable memories of Ted's quest for love, as well as the misadventures of Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lily.  Here are a few things I won't ever forget about How I Met Your Mother.  Stuff I learned from the show.  Crap like that:

  • Stories are important, not because of the events that transpire in them, but because of the people attached to them.
  • Some practical jokes are to risky to attempt, especially if they involve exploding food items.
  • You may be worried that you haven't met THE ONE (not Neo) yet, but you can trust in the fact that he or she is trying to get to you as fast as he or she can.
  • It's the different penguins who get left out in the cold.  (That's not very motivational...)
  • It's the small and silly things that really make friendships worth having.
  • The solution to over-thinking is probably not over-drinking.
  • If a woman leaves you at the alter for her screenwriter ex-boyfriend, you WILL wind up as the bad guy is a terrible chick flick.
  • Something can be meant to be if you mean it to be.  Then you just have to make it rain.
  • People with really high-paying office jobs really don't do much other than shred documents and pull pranks on their co-workers.
  • The Naked Man works two out of three times.
  • A woman can be crazy as long as she's proportionally hot.
  • You absolutely can grow up without getting old.  Look at Marshall and Lily.
  • Sometimes, old things need to be blown up so newer better things can be built in their place.
  • Clothes do make the man, but only if those clothes are suits.
  • If you meet somebody you wanna keep in your life, you have to do something about it.
  • It's pronounced "en-cy-clo-PAY-di-a".
  • Don't give up.  Hold on to hope.  Your happy ending is out there, if you keep the faith that you'll find it.
I'm gonna miss this group of characters.  I'll miss their catchphrases, their over-blown antics, and their ridiculous opinions.  I'll miss the Slap Bets, the mystery of the pineapple, the goat fights, and the musical numbers.  I'll miss the laser tag outings, Ted's hot girlfriends, the Canadian pop songs, and the Fiero.  But most of all, I'll miss this group of people who have been so much fun to hang out with over the past few years.  I can only hope that I can be that kind of friend these folks are to one another to my friends.  So long, Barney and Robin.  Arrivederci, Marshall and Lily.  Catch you later, Mr. Mosby.  I won't forget any of you.  Sing us out, will you, Poison?


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Get Back, Marty!

Time travel.  It's one of the most mind-bendingly awesome ideas put forth by science.  And it's kick-ass fodder for movies, too.  Many films use time travel as a story element, and a lot of them are crap.  Here are ten that are not crap.  In fact, these are my ten favorite time travel movies, ever.  You'll see my taste in time travel movies skews toward the silly.  If you don't like that, time travel back to before I wrote this post and do something about it.


Hot Tub Time Machine: Three friends and their twenty-something tag-along are blasted back in time to the 1980's when the hot tub at their hotel malfunctions.  They decide they need to do everything they did back in the day, so as not to destroy the future.  But it wouldn't be a fun movie if they didn't screw up.  The squirrel steals every scene he's in.  Even the ones with Clark Duke (who's hilarious BTW).  And Rob Cordry gives an under-rated and excellent performance.


Groundhog Day: Bill Murray plays an egotistical weatherman who finds himself stuck reliving the same day over and over.  So, yeah, he's only travelling in time a few hours, but he's doing it over and over.  It's an interesting film because it's kind of structured around the stages of dealing with death and it also has something to say about reliving your mistakes, accepting them, and moving on.  Plus, Murray is spectacular.  Plus plus, it's hilarious.  Plus plus plus, it inspired one of my favorite episodes of Supernatural.


Terminator: Robots from the future send a cyborg back to the past to kill resistance leader John Connor's mom, Sarah, before he's ever born.  The old-school low budget special effects are pretty awesome, and Arnold Schwarzenegger proves that before he was the Governator, he was actually contributing to society by making kick-ass movies.  And Linda Hamilton is pretty bad ass as Sarah Connor.  Not as bad ass as Ellen Ripley from the Alien movies, but still pretty good.


Donnie Darko: Equal parts teen angst drama, crime mystery, and time travel mind-bender, Donnie Darko is hard to nail down in one sentence, so I won't even bother.  I will say that it's completely engrossing, creepy as all get-out, and actually kinda sweet.  Jake Gyllenhaal's awkward, uneasy Donnie perfect fits into this movie's off-kilter aesthetic.  It's a hard movie to figure out the first time through, so I suggest multiple viewings.


Looper: Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a thug who assassinates people a big crime syndicate sends back from the future.  Things aren't so bad.  He even gets to use the future version of a blunderbuss (had to get that word in).  Then, his future self (Bruce Willis) shows up on a mission to prevent the death of his wife.  Time gets all twisty, Emily Blunt packs around a shotgun and looks hot doing it, and a little kid may be the key to it all.  JGL has never been more badass and Willis gets to display the vulnerability that makes him more than the average action star.


The Time Machine (1960): This one's a stone-cold sci-fi classic, based on the H.G. Wells masterpiece.  Rod Taylor finds he can't stops his love's death by time-travelling to the past, so he heads for the distant future.  He winds up in a far-flung time where he helps the peaceful Eloi battle the monstrous Morlocks.  The special effects still hold up today, and the idea of travelling to a new time to forget old heartache is very appealing.


Safety Not Guaranteed: Hard to choose between this one and About Time for the quirky romantic comedy on this list, but this one wins out because I can really relate to Mark Duplass's character, Kenneth.  Kenneth's a weirdo who's kind of out of place where he lives.  His relationship with Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is completely believable.  I mean, I'd fall in love with Aubrey Plaza.  Plus, this may be the only movie on this list where we're (possibly) seeing the results of a trip back in time, rather than the trip itself.


12 Monkeys: Based on the French short film La Jetee, this film sends Bruce Willis back in time from a devastated future world to gather information that will help prevent a worldwide holocaust.  In the process, he meets whacko animal lover Brad Pitt and a lovely psychiatrist played by Madeline Stowe.  This is a Terry Gilliam (the dude who made Brazil) movie, so the visuals are amazing, and Willis gives the best performance of his career.  The ending is sad, but inspiring, in a way.  To say any more than that would give it away.


Back to the Future: A classic.  Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) takes a trip back to the 1950's and accidentally disrupts history when his mother falls in love with him.  Marty has to get his folks to hook up and then get back to 1985, with the help of Doc Brown.  The characters are awesome.  The action is hilarious.  The car is super cool.  And, we also get to see how rock and roll was born.  You can't ask for more than that!


Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure: "All we are is dust in the wind, dude."  Most pretentious art films don't say anything that has as much meaning.  Okay, so I'm kidding, but this movie is honestly more than just a story about two dim bulbs horsing around in history.  It also shows that people from very different backgrounds can come together to create a kick-ass history report.  And it illustrates the power of dreams.  Because, Wyld Stallyns started off as a dream of a stupid garage band fronted by two nearly brain-dead dudes.  And that dream changed the world.  Bonus points for an appearance by George Carlin.

So, that's my list.  What's on your list?  What did I leave out?  Let me know!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Call This Switch Successful

When I learned Angela Gossow had left Arch Enemy to focus on the business side of the band, I was a little sad.  Miss Gossow had one of my favorite screamy voices in metal, and the fact that said scream was issuing forth from the throat of a petite attractive German woman made things all the more impressive.  So, yeah, I was bummed.  Fortunately, Arch Enemy rebounded by snapping up The Agonist frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz.  Not only can Miss White-Gluz really belt out the screams, but she's also pretty gifted at singing melodically.  Plus, she's Canadian, meaning Arch Enemy keeps its multi-national flavor going.  Plus, she's one of the hottest women in metal right now.  So, you know, win-win.  Here she is rocking out with the Amott brothers and posse on Arch Enemy's new single "War Eternal".

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Meet My New Favorite Band (This Week...)

I don't remember for sure how I ran across Babymetal.  Probably a link on some metal blog I was reading, kinda like how I discovered Amon Amarth and Alestorm.  I do remember not completely understanding what I was seeing.  What was this?  Little teenage Japanese girls singing sugary sweet pop hooks over bludgeoning death metal tracks?  How can this work?  One thing's for damn sure: It does work, and pretty damn well at that.

Babymetal recently released their first full-length record, which looks to be comprised primarily of previously released singles and b-sides, with a couple new songs thrown in just for fun.  I got ahold of the record, and, I have to say that, sadly, I'm addicted.  While I don't understand the lyrics, and can't really sing along (cuz I don't know Japanese), and I feel super creepy admiring the pop/death metal stylings of a group fronted by 14-year-olds, I can't help it.  The music is completely disarming and infectious.  And it's always interesting.

Part of the appeal is owed to the fact that someone somewhere is making music for kids that doesn't suck.  I mean, I'm sure, given the way the girls coo the lyrics, that it's about the usually teen idol subject matter: love, having fun, breaking up, heartbreak, etc.  (Although, I really really hope they're singing adorable pop tunes about giant kaiju attacks on Tokyo and soul-siphoning demon dragons.)  But it's just done with so much enthusiasm and energy that I can't deny my desire to sing along while headbanging.  Plus, since I can't understand the words, I get to make up my own lyrics.  I've already decided there's a line in "Doki Doki Morning" that says something like "Ding, ding, ding/ Asshole has a hernia".

I've read several articles that have included lines like "This stuff is gonna piss off any true metalhead".  Maybe because it's not pure metal.  All the song have riffs that hit with industrial strength brutality, but they also veer off into non-metal territory.  One tune shifts into gangsta rap out of nowhere, while another features reggae breakdowns.  I guess it's not pure enough for true metalheads.  I also surmise that I'm not a true metalhead, cuz I love this sh*t.  It keeps me excited to see what happens next.  It's like if a giant Japanese mech busted through my speakers and kicked me in the head, I'd be less surprised than I am by what Babymetal does next.  And I've never heard metal that's so... so... CHEERFUL.  I guess what I'm saying is that I know Babymetal is a concoction of some record producer, that it's not much more than J-pop with some riffs thrown in to spice it up.  I know it's basically what you'd get if you fronted DragonForce with a girl group.  I know it's not really metal.  AND I DON'T FRAKKING CARE.

(And if you're concerned that my enjoyment of this group is evidence that I have some serious, deep-seeated problems, it's cool.  I'm just as worried as you are.)

Here's "Doki Doki Morning" for you to check out if your curiosity has gotten the better of you.